1st National Conference on Biological Farming Systems

1st National Conference on Biological Farming Systems

Biological Conference a huge success“Toward Sustainable Farming, by Farmers for Farmers.” The Rotorua Lakes & Land Trust (RLLT) hosted the 1st National Conference on Biological Farming Systems in Rotorua, late October. The sell-out event had a capacity 270 people attending from throughout New Zealand.

The primary speakers were scientists and farmers – including Outgro® customer Kevin Davidson – and a broad range of ideas and potential systems within “biological farming” were explored. Jim McMillan and the Outgro® reps were kept very busy fielding enquiries from attendees during every break. The conference program director Dr Guna Magesan is the scientist for the Vallance Project initiated by farmers to improve water quality in Rotorua and Taupo lakes. The project involves conventional and bio farms in Reporoa and Edgecumbe. Twelve drainage-flux meters on each farm measure the amount of drainage and N concentrations in soil water and the amount of nutrient loss. Monitoring will continue for three years. In his progress report, Magesan said the preliminary results are promising. Nitrate concentrations in soil water collected from biological farms are much lower than those collected from conventional farms. Soil structure is better on biological farms. The biological technique may be the answer to nutrient leaching risks faced by the dairy industry. A well-attended field trip to the Berryman Family biological farm in Edgecumbe inspected the Vallance Project at first-hand. Following the conference Guna Magesan and a number of delegates attended the Outgro-sponsored field day held at the farm of Neil Armitage – Outgro’s founding farm.

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