Chilean trials in soil crops started in September 2013.
Chilean trials in soil crops started in September 2013.
Azomite, now available in Canada, is an economical soil additive that can speed up and improve reclamation land recovery
Published April 2014
“Mining really does strip off any of the micronutrients that are in the soil—the essential elements and minerals,” said distributor Mark Loran. “It will take basically thousands of years to get that back in, unless you put it straight back into the soil. It does create much stronger plants that are more disease resistant and nutrient rich.”
With about 100 pounds of Azomite required for each acre of reclamation land, the additive is a very cost-effective way to improve revegetation. Companies can expect to see improved growth in a quicker time frame. Azomite provides nutrients that are needed by every sort of plant life.
Azomite is mined in the state of Utah, which has the only known deposit in the world. The product is available in more than 30 countries around the world. There are no additives, making the full-spectrum soil additive organic and natural—an easy, economical option for returning a site to its original state.
To learn more, and for ordering information, visit the Azomite Canada website.
Dig Garden, located at the Highway 3A/6 junction in South Slocan, is pleased to announce it’s the Canadian distributor for AZOMITE® Trace Minerals.
And now that the word is out, the product is flying off the shelf.
“We brought in 27 tons and that sold out in the first week,” said Mark Loran, owner/operator of Dig Garden with his wife Lori.
“Then we brought in another 27 tons . . . and that already half sold.”
AZOMITE® is a natural product mined from an ancient mineral deposit in Utah (USA) that typically contains a broad spectrum of over 70 minerals and trace elements, distinct from any mineral deposit in the world.
AZOMITE® is used internationally as a feed additive and a soil re-mineraliser for plants, and is available in over thirty countries throughout the world.
Minerals in Azomite Organic Soil Amendments are necessary for optimal metabolism in living things.
Ground to dust, trace minerals are small enough to pass through cell walls of organisms.
Azomite has no additives, synthetics or fillers and is 100% natural. Typical analysis shows every element that’s beneficial to plants and animals and other elements scientists believe essential.
Azomite has been used in conjunction with N-P-K for over 65 years to create healthier more nutrient dense plants with better disease resistance, improved germination rates, healthier root systems and higher yields in a multitude of different plants including corn, wheat, leaf vegetables, citrus fruits, grapes, potatoes, tomatoes and many, many more.
“Azomite really promotes disease resistance in either plants as well as animals,” Loran explained.
“Because if a plant is healthy, like a human, the more healthy you are the less chance you’re going to get sick.”
Loran said Azomite is only one percent soluble so it just stays in the ground and the plants just use it as they need it.
“You can mix it with soil, mix it into you vegetable beds . . . its great for lawns, and great for trees.”
“A lot of research is being done on trees dying in California,” Loran added. “Researchers have used Azomite and trees have come back.”
AZOMITE® is sold in 44 pound bags or five pound pails.
A 44-pound bag will cover just under a half an acre.
“The word is getting out and Canada is just waking up from under the snow so this is a perfect time to bring it in,” Loran said.
For more information check out the AZOMITE® website.
Dig Garden is a subsidiary of Canadian distributor for AZOMITE®, Pacific Sprinklers.
by judith d. schwartz
In the 19th century, as land-hungry pioneers steered their wagon trains westward across the United States, they encountered a vast landscape of towering grasses that nurtured deep, fertile soils.
Today, just three percent of North America’s tallgrass prairie remains. Its disappearance has had a dramatic impact on the landscape and ecology of
The world’s cultivated soils have lost 50 to 70 percent of their original carbon stock.
the U.S., but a key consequence of that transformation has largely been overlooked: a massive loss of soil carbon into the atmosphere. The importance of soil carbon — how it is leached from the earth and how that process can be reversed — is the subject of intensifying scientific investigation, with important implications for the effort to slow the rapid rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
According to Rattan Lal, director of Ohio State University’s Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, the world’s cultivated soils have lost between 50 and 70 percent of their original carbon stock, much of which has oxidized upon exposure to air to become CO2. Now, armed with rapidly expanding knowledge about carbon sequestration in soils, researchers are studying how land restoration programs in places like the former North American prairie, the North China Plain, and even the parched interior of Australia might help put carbon back into the soil.
Absent carbon and critical microbes, soil becomes mere dirt, a process of deterioration that’s been rampant around the globe. Many scientists say that regenerative agricultural practices can turn back the carbon clock, reducing atmospheric CO2 while also boosting soil productivity and increasing resilience to floods and drought. Such regenerative techniques include planting fields year-round in crops or other cover, and agroforestry that combines crops, trees, and animal husbandry.
Recognition of the vital role played by soil carbon could mark an important if subtle shift in the discussion about global warming, which has been
A look at soil brings a sharper focus on potential carbon sinks.
heavily focused on curbing emissions of fossil fuels. But a look at soil brings a sharper focus on potential carbon sinks. Reducing emissions is crucial, but soil carbon sequestration needs to be part of the picture as well, says Lal. The top priorities, he says, are restoring degraded and eroded lands, as well as avoiding deforestation and the farming of peatlands, which are a major reservoir of carbon and are easily decomposed upon drainage and cultivation.
He adds that bringing carbon back into soils has to be done not only to offset fossil fuels, but also to feed our growing global population. “We cannot feed people if soil is degraded,” he says.
“Supply-side approaches, centered on CO2 sources, amount to reshuffling the Titanic deck chairs if we overlook demand-side solutions: where that carbon can and should go,” says Thomas J. Goreau, a biogeochemist and expert on carbon and nitrogen cycles who now serves as president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance. Goreau says we need to seek opportunities to increase soil carbon in all ecosystems — from tropical forests to pasture to wetlands — by replanting degraded areas, increased mulching of biomass instead of burning, large-scale use of biochar, improved pasture management, effective erosion control, and restoration of mangroves, salt marshes, and sea grasses.
“CO2 cannot be reduced to safe levels in time to avoid serious long-term impacts unless the other side of atmospheric CO2 balance is included,” Goreau says.
Scientists say that more carbon resides in soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life combined; there are 2,500 billion tons of carbon in soil, compared with 800 billion tons in the atmosphere and 560 billion tons in plant and animal life. And compared to many proposed geoengineering fixes, storing carbon in soil is simple: It’s a matter of returning carbon where it belongs.
Through photosynthesis, a plant draws carbon out of the air to form carbon compounds. What the plant doesn’t need for growth is exuded through the roots to feed soil organisms, whereby the carbon is humified, or rendered stable. Carbon is the main component of soil organic matter and helps give soil its water-retention capacity, its structure, and its fertility. According to Lal, some pools of carbon housed in soil aggregates are so stable that they can last thousands of years. This is in contrast to “active” soil carbon, which resides in topsoil and is in continual flux between microbial hosts and the atmosphere.
‘If we treat soil carbon as a renewable resource, we can change the dynamics,’ says an expert.
“If we treat soil carbon as a renewable resource, we can change the dynamics,” says Goreau. “When we have erosion, we lose soil, which carries with it organic carbon, into waterways. When soil is exposed, it oxidizes, essentially burning the soil carbon. We can take an alternate trajectory.”
As basic as soil carbon is, there’s much scientists are just learning about it, including how to make the most of its CO2 sequestration capacity. One promising strategy, says Goreau, is bolstering soil microbiology by adding beneficial microbes to stimulate the soil cycles where they have been interrupted by use of insecticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. As for agroforestry, programs with greater species diversity are better able to maximize the storage of carbon than monocultures. Many researchers are looking to biochar — produced when plant matter, manure, or other organic material is heated in a zero- or low-oxygen environment — for its ability to turn problem areas into productive sites while building soil carbon. Says Goreau, “Vast areas of deforested land that have been abandoned after soil degradation are excellent candidates for replanting and reforestation using biochar from the weeds now growing there.”
An important vehicle for moving carbon into soil is root, or mycorrhizal, fungi, which govern the give-and-take between plants and soil. According to Australian soil scientist Christine Jones, plants with mycorrhizal connections can transfer up to 15 percent more carbon to soil than their non-mycorrhizal counterparts. The most common mycorrhizal fungi are marked by threadlike filaments called hyphae that extend the reach of a plant, increasing access to nutrients and water. These hyphae are coated with a sticky substance called glomalin, discovered only in 1996, which is instrumental in soil structure and carbon storage. The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises land managers to protect glomalin by minimizing tillage and chemical inputs and using cover crops to keep living roots in the soil.
In research published in Nature in January, scientists from the University of Texas at Austin, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and Boston University assessed the carbon and nitrogen cycles under different mycorrhizal regimens and found that plants linked with fruiting, or mushroom-type, fungi stored 70 percent more carbon per unit of nitrogen in soil. Lead author Colin Averill, a fourth-year graduate student at the University of Texas, explains that the fungi take up organic nitrogen on behalf of the plant, out-competing soil microorganisms that decompose organic matter and release carbon. He says this points to soil biology as a
Our understanding of how soil life affects the carbon cycle is poised for tremendous growth.
driver of carbon storage, particularly “the mechanisms by which carbon can stay in the ground rather than going into the atmosphere.”
One implication of this research, says Goreau, is that “the effect of most landscape alterations is to convert them from systems that store carbon efficiently … toward ones that are inefficient in the use of nitrogen, and as a result are losing carbon storage.” By landscape alterations, he means from forest to cropland, or from small farms to industrial agriculture operations that use the chemicals that inhibit the mycorrhizal and microbial interactions that store carbon.
Our understanding of soil microbiology and how soil life affects the carbon cycle is poised for tremendous growth, says Goreau. This, he says, is thanks to the burgeoning field of metagenomics, the study of genetic material from specimens taken directly from the environment rather than cultured in a lab. “For the first time,” says Goreau, “we can identify all major soil biogeochemical pathways from the genetic information in the microbes.”
Even at our current level of knowledge, many see great potential for storing carbon in soil. Lal of Ohio State says that restoring soils of degraded and desertified ecosystems has the potential to store in world soils an additional 1 billion to 3 billion tons of carbon annually, equivalent to roughly 3.5 billion to 11 billion tons of CO2 emissions. (Annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning are roughly 32 billion tons.)
Many call Lal’s carbon soil storage figures low. This could reflect the fact that soil carbon is generally measured in the top 15 to 30 centimeters, whereas soil at depth may store carbon at much higher rates. For example, in land with deep-rooted grasses the soil can go down five meters or more. Research by Australian and British scientists published last year in the journal Plant and Soil examined soils in five southwestern Australia sites
Research shows that biochar made from plant fodder and even chicken manure can be used to scrub mercury from power plant emissions and clean up polluted soil. The big question is whether biochar can be produced on a sufficiently large scale to slow or reverse global warming.
at depths as great as nearly 40 meters. These findings add impetus to explore strategies such as working with deep-rooted perennial grasses to secure carbon at depth.
Those who champion soil carbon for climate mitigation frequently look to grasslands, which cover more than a quarter of the world’s land. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, grasslands also hold 20 percent of the world’s soil carbon stock. Much of this land is degraded, as evidenced in the U.S. Great Plains and places like northern Mexico, Africa’s Sahel, and Mongolia.
Seth Itzkan — founder of Massachusetts-based Planet-TECH Associates, a consulting firm specializing in restoration ecology — advocates Holistic Planned Grazing (HPG), a model developed by Zimbabwean wildlife biologist Allan Savory. In this practice, livestock are managed as a tool for large-scale land restoration, mimicking the herding and grazing patterns of wild ruminants that coevolved with grassland ecosystems. Animals are moved so that no plants are overgrazed, and grazing stimulates biological activity in the soil. Their waste adds fertility, and as they move in a herd their trampling aerates soil, presses in seeds, and pushes down dead plant matter so it can be acted upon by soil microorganisms. All of this generates soil carbon, plant carbon, and water retention. Savory says HPG doesn’t require more land — in fact it generally supports greater animal density — so it can be applied wherever livestock are raised.
In Australia, which has been suffering extreme heat and wildfires, policy-makers are taking seriously programs that build and stabilize soil carbon. The action plan Regenerate Australia outlines a strategy to restore up to 300 million hectares (740 million acres). A core goal is attaining previous soil carbon levels by introducing more sustainable grazing, farming, and water-retention practices.
Says Rattan Lal: “Soils of the world must be part of any agenda to address climate change, as well as food and water security. I think there is now a general awareness of soil carbon, an awareness that soil isn’t just a medium for plant growth.”
POSTED ON 04 MAR 2014 IN
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Judith D. Schwartz is a freelance writer based in southern Vermont who has written on ecology and economics for Scientific American, Conservation, Time, and Pacific Standard. Her most recent book is Cows Save the Planet and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth.
© 2013 Yale Environment 360
In a major forward stride for sustainable agriculture, the country of Brazil has enacted legislation that includes soil remineralization as part of its agricultural policy. Remineralization is the practice of adding rock dust to soils to restore vital nutrients crucial to the growing of crops, forests and any other plant-based ecosystem. Many of these soil nutrients are lost due to conventional agricultural practices, such as overuse of the land and application of synthetic chemicals. Read more…
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LEARNING FROM COMPOST | ACRES USA Magazine Eco-Gardener by Stephen Scott
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LONDON, Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The first animal feeding trial studying the lifetime effects of exposure to Roundup tolerant GM maize, and Roundup, the world’s best-selling weedkiller, shows that levels currently considered safe can cause tumors and multiple organ damage and lead to premature death in laboratory rats, according to research published online today by the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Researchers found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize, or given water containing Roundup at levels permitted in drinking water and GM crops in the US, died earlier than rats fed on a standard diet. They suffered mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage.
The paper, “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize” reports on a study conducted by a team of scientists led by molecular biologist and endocrinologist Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini, co-director of the Risk Quality and Sustainable Environment Unit at the University of Caen, France, who is an authority on studies into the health impact of GMO’s and pesticides. It was supported by independent research organization, CRIIGEN.
By Alana Melanson
M.L. Altobelli’s crops have a secret: The nutritional values of the vegetables she grows are significantly higher than those ofaverage produce found at a traditional grocery store. No, the land at her Woody End Farm does not have magical properties that cause it to create superbly efficient plants. The key is what Altobelli adds to the soil prior to planting, she said.
There isn’t one specific ingredient that will ensure the plants will grow to their highest possible level of functionality, rather, it is a mix of several that are necessary, the amounts of which are highly dependent upon the soil composition and the desired outcome; measuring and balancing out what elements are already present in the soil and supplementing them with others, she said.
China Suspends Commercialization of Genetically-Engineered (GE) Rice. In late 2011, China’s major financial weekly, the Economic Observer, quoted an information source close to the Ministry of Agriculture saying that China had suspended the commercialization of GE rice. The campaign against GE rice focused on its threat to Chinese food sovereignty as multi-national companies – not Chinese farmers – stand to profit from the commercialization of GE rice from investments in technology and patents.