Market prices, grower input costs, the weather and rainfall are beyond the control of individual farmers, but the single biggest resource that they can manage in order to continue to reap the benefits from is the soil. — Dr Elaine Ingham
World leading authority on regenerative agricultural production, soil microbiologist Dr Elaine Ingham, will conduct a complete Soil Food Web Course Online that starts on September 15th, 2014
Dr Ingham challenges many current views on soil sustainability. “The problems of rising fertiliser and fossil fuel costs, climate change, water quality and quantity in agriculture, nutrient run-off, increased use of chemical support for agricultural production and dealing with green “waste” have all got one thing in common – soil health”, she said.
Dr Ingham claims that not nearly enough is known about soil and its capacity to produce sustainable farm outcomes leading to positive global impacts. “As land managers, we continue to struggle to build a sustainable future growing healthy plants and animals. However, there are new developments in sustainable farming practices that promise a bright future in agriculture and beyond.”
As a world renowned soil microbiologist, leading researcher and sustainability educator, Dr Ingham aims to provide a framework to show that the soil is the common element in climate change, water quality and quantity and ongoing production capacity largely regardless of weather changes. By using all manner of plants – grasses, trees and horticulture, increases in carbon dioxide absorption from the atmosphere can be held in the soil as sequestered organic carbon to benefit both the environment and the productivity of farmers through the buffering effect of improved soil biological activity.
Dr Ingham claims that her research has demonstrated that having higher organic matter levels and biological activity in the soil translates to massively increased water-holding capacity, decreased use of fertiliser, a lessened need to apply fungicides, herbicides and pesticides, and reduced fuel use for soil cultivation and spraying.
“The hugely diverse organisms generated in these processes [compost making] can be applied directly to the soil or can be made into a compost tea for application as a soil or foliar spray providing beneficial inoculation to balance and retard disease-causing pathogens”, she claimed.
The Soil Food Web Course Online covers these sustainable growing issues in detail with the aim of helping farmers and others associated with land management to economically and sustainably resolve many of the issues currently facing those working the land.