After many years of farming, aerial agricultural flying and ground spreading using traditional fertiliser and practices on my farm and others, I came to the conclusion that some soluble synthetic fertilisers, were actually causing metabolic issues in the soil, plants and animals. These fertilisers were actually creating profitability issues, as well as sustainable farming and environmental problems, and are contradictory to what I conceived to be acceptable best management practices. As a consequence, we had to spend on insecticides, fungicides and mineral supplements to rectify the problems we had caused, unintentionally creating many of our own problems. I needed to change. It seemed like we were continually chasing our tail. There needed to be a better system.
In searching for a better way, I was introduced in 1995 to a renewable farming system, that being the Kinsey-Albrecht system of soil fertility and biological farming. This focuses on balancing soil nutrients and renewing soils to enhance soil quality and productivity over time.
The next ten years, I devoted to studying in New Zealand and travelling the world to search for and learn of innovative biological practices and ideas. I wanted to bring these home and implement and experiment on my own farm, Springfield Estate, in Methven, and to help other farmers develop a practical, renewable farming system. This led to forming Top Soils and consulting.
Sustainable soil needs to be profitable. No matter how desirable a sustainable programme might be, it must be tempered with the realities of making a total commercial agriculture programme work economically.
For me, the farm is a day to day learning experience. With biological farming, common sense and good observation can take you a long way towards success. This is the challenge and fun in farming. This is what I share, talk about, learn from, demonstrate and observe with farmers all over the world. It is about taking biological farming concepts and applying what fits your farm and management system. It is always about improving the system.
It takes time to see results, but once you start, it just keeps getting better and better.
Donald L. Hart