bacteria In any intensive environment certain diseases show there heads after a while (the plague in Europe in the medieval times, H5N1 bird flu in Asia today). To put back the balance as nature intended, we have to intervene. We agriculturalists invariably put it out of balance therefore it is our responsibility to put the balance back.

Bacteria as we all know are the building blocks of life. So why the importance here? Well if your environment has fences and placed water points and one uses fertilizers, you have inadvertently changed the dynamics of the natural environment. What needs to be understood is that the soil environment is made up of a living component and this is in turn made up of fungi and bacteria.

At Summerhillwe have begun to strategically put back the balance by spraying beneficial bacteria onto our lands. This is done to reduce the harmful bacteria load to where it should be, as well as to fix nitrogen for our grasses and legumes. A large amount of harmful bacteria are found in the soil especially where we have intervened with agriculture, this in turn has lead to an increase in disease incidence. Spraying on these bacteria in turn control the harmful bacteria, which have grown disproportionately. The beneficial bacteria feed on the harmful bacteria until the population has reached critical mass and then subside to what the environment should actually have.

An easier understanding can be made by thinking of lions and gazelle. The population of gazelle grows until lions are introduced and then the numbers of gazelle begin to drop, until the natural balance between prey and predator is established.

The other benefit is that these bacteria fix atmospheric nitrogen, they capture nitrogen gas and turn it into the available form of nitrogen that can be readily absorbed by the vegetation in which it lives. These nitrates and nitrites are a bi-product of the bacteria. The relationship between the bacteria and the vegetation that is established is termed symbiotic. The grass gets the nitrogen which is the food it needs to grow and the bacteria gets glucose from the roots for their life processes.

Hopefully these little steps go a long way to ensuring that we are producing world beating champions that have had every chance of success.

Posted by Barry Watson