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Skilled biological farmers learn what fertilizers work best for their farm and which are environmentally-safe through monitoring their soil, plants and animals. They use farming practices that encourage beneficial organisms living in the soil, avoiding those fertilisers that don't promote life. At times soil disturbance may seem unavoidable, such as pugging in wet seasons and spraying paddocks out. Biological farmers can choose to repair these disturbance events by applying bio-friendly products or planting cover crops to stimulate good microbes and reduce weed pressures. Healthy soils contain a balance between the organic (carbon-based) particles that serve as plant food and living microbes such as; bacteria, fungi, protozoa plus the more visible critters such as earthworms. These organisms process and decompose the inert mineral and organic materials, thereby feeding the plants. An optimally productive soil contains a balance of inorganic minerals, organic materials, and living organisms, all contained within a physical structure that absorbs and holds water to help the natural chemical reactions which feeds plants on demand. Excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides compromises this balance in the soil, achieving the exact opposite of what is required. Practices which artificially prop plants and animals up through chemical applications mask symptoms which reveal the underlying nutritional and biological deficiencies. The challenge taken up by those on the Biological path; is to learn from these clues; and to act in a way which considers the soil/plant interaction. Biological farming makes economic sense. The input costs of fertilizers are reduced and the use of pesticides is greatly reduced (or eliminated) as the healthier plants that result from biological farming are more disease and pest resistant. Carbon rich, biologically diverse soils are also more resilient against climactic pressures, such as drought and temperature, lengthening the growing season and reducing water requirements. Biological farming is not defined so much by any prescriptive approach, (as farmers employ a vast variety of techniques,) but rather from the outcome from these practices; a reduction in pests, weeds and disease and the production of nutrient dense foods. Since 1940 many food mineral values have declined between 30 to 60%. Regenerative farming practices yield soils that are able to support nutrient dense crops from the higher concentrations of plant sugars, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and proteins; putting the food value back into food. These practices are growing rapidly across the world as farmers respond to mounting costs, legislation, environmental concerns and consumer awareness. Biological farming is by no means the easiest method but farmers around the country are finding the results are worth it. If you’re looking for more information, contact another farmer who has been using this approach for 3 or 4 years. At the end of the day it’s about putting the control back into farmers hands. Where it belongs. for more information see [http//:www.biologicalfarmers.co.nz]