Canada’s New Budget Support Climate Friendly Farming

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This week the Canadian government announced the new budget and in it are some climate-friendly moves. Farmers in Canada who practice sustainable farming practices are going to get a little more help and farmers who are using unsustainable practices will be encouraged to change what they do. Industrial farming is horrible for the environment, and arguably bad for people, so anything we can do to avoid it is helpful. The 20th century witnessed the overuse of fertilizers to make up for unsustainable industrial farming.

Reducing the use of nitrogen fertilizer sits at the heart of those recommendations — as it does in the federal budget. When applied to fields in excess, nitrogen fertilizer is broken down by microbes into nitrous oxide, explained Sean Smukler, a professor of soil science at the University of British Columbia.

That greenhouse gas is roughly 300 times more potent than CO2 and accounts for roughly half of Canada’s agricultural emissions. But soil testing and agronomic support — both of which are also funded in the budget — can help farmers substantially reduce their fertilizer use.

Money will also be available to help farmers plant cover crops and use rotational grazing. Both practices promote soil health, carbon sequestration and better long-term productivity. In the short-term, however, implementing them can be too expensive for many farmers already stretched thin by high costs and low revenues.

Read more.

Organic Fertilizers Cost Effective and Better for Crops

Here’s a good story about how poor farmers in Kenya have shunned expensive chemical fertilizers for cheaper organic ones.

The organic fertiliser is sprayed onto maize two weeks after planting, and a month later.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services through Kenya Agriculture Research Institute have tested the fertiliser’s components and given an analytical report.

Mr Mosbei said the use of organic fertiliser, apart from rejuvenating soil quality, saves farmers about 70 percent of the cost of production.

“Whereas it takes a farmer in the North Rift 100kg of DAP and 50kg of top dressing to plant an acre of maize, all they require is only eight litres at Sh300 per litre for the same acre,” said Mr Mosbei.

“The organic fertiliser enriches the soil with minerals and maintains an ample PH level for the minerals required by plants for optimum yield,” added Mr Rono.

Read the full article.

Thanks Greg!

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