A great deal of respect is given to people who have accumulated letters after their name after spending time at a university.

Research institutes utilise these taught skills and soak up our research budget studying specific problems in specific areas.

I see some limitations in our farming research where so called advances in one area are creating problems in another area.

An example of this is where recently a scientist I met had 2 PhD’s in Nutrition but knew nothing about soil.

Most vets have vast knowledge of animal disease, diagnosis and treatment but have not been trained in soil science. This is not a criticism but an observation.

Recently I spent time in Denmark with a senior vet and nutritionist focused on finding the reason for animal diseases particularly in Europe. This is part of a treatment plan for farmers who can lose cows very quickly from Clostridia and similar diseases like botulism.

Dr Erri’s research has led him to the soil for answers. Unbalanced soil nutrients is leading to unbalanced feed which is leading to the inability for cows to naturally fight diseases without the aid of vaccines and medicines to keep them healthy.

A so called advance in Nutrition, which is a trend beginning in NZ, is the use of increasing rumen bypass feeds to produce milk. In Europe this trend is well developed and although this practise produces milk, Dr Erri commented that it is at the expense of animal health. Cows are barely completing 2 lactations under this system. He said that nutritionists are treating a cow like a machine and by bypassing the rumen are not respecting the full nutrition that the bugs in the rumen need to complete their job to maintain a healthy cow and her immune system.

The conditions in a cows rumen also dictate the bugs which carry on out into our effluent ponds which farmers are then encouraged to apply to the soil as fertiliser. Good effluent containing healthy biology can then contribute to a healthy soil.

clear pond 2

Another so called advancement in science is the heavy use of chlorine in our cowsheds. In the past two years there has been a massive increase in its use and although scientists are denying it, this chlorine is doing massive damage to our effluent ponds. The chlorine in alkaline, Chloride of Lime and liquid chlorine all produce residuals which, upon entering the pond, wipe out the benificial biology which are there trying to make effluent a good fertiliser for the soil. This is not a theory. I am seeing it regularly as I am called to fix farmers effluent.

Although it is obviously the go-to product to keep a farmer grade free, there has been no respect from educated experts on the effects outside their narrow vision. The next step is the sterilisation of our effluent and eventually sterilisation of our soil.

Furthermore a soil with compromised beneficial bacteria will create an abundance of pathogenic bacteria which will eventually get to the feed which has grown in that soil. If only cows could talk, I’m sure they would have something to say about it.

Amazing what you see when you look at the big picture!

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