The Amish are original homesteaders and most of them are still today. If their crops fail they have to find out what went wrong and fix the problem.
Add some education to experience and you get an 18-year-old Amish farmer who studied the immune system of plants and found a breakthrough that is changing farming.
Since this discovery, many parts of the world are now using this technique to improve their farming results.
This is an excerpt from TheAtlantic:
The Amish do not use modern conveniences like electricity and power equipment. They use hard work and labor. But when their crops go bad they have to find ingenious ways to save their livelihood on the homestead. Here’s what we can learn from them.
Kempf is the unlikely founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a consulting firm established in 2006 to promote science-intensive organic agriculture. A series of crop failures on his own farm drove the 8th grade-educated Kempf to school himself in the sciences.
For two years, he pored over research in biology, chemistry, and agronomy in pursuit of a way to save his fields. The breakthrough came from the study of plant immune systems which, in healthy plants, produce an array of compounds that are toxic to intruders.
“The immune response in plants is dependent on well-balanced nutrition,” Kempf concluded, “in much the same way as our own immune system.” Modern agriculture uses fertilizer specifically to increase yields, he added, with little awareness of the nutritional needs of other organic functions. Through plant sap analysis, Kempf has been able to discover deficiencies in important trace minerals which he can then introduce into the soil. With plants able to defend themselves, pesticides can be avoided, allowing the natural predators of pests to flourish.
According to Kempf, the methods he developed through experimentation on his Ohio farm are now being used across North and South America, Hawaii, Europe, and Africa.
According to Kempf, the methods he developed through experimentation on his Ohio farm are now being used across North and South America, Hawaii, Europe, and Africa. The entrepreneur promises clients higher-quality crops, bigger yields, better taste, and produce that carries a lucrative “organic” label. Kempf, however, considers his process as an important improvement upon standard organic farming methods. “Organic certification is a negative-process certification,” he explained, “You can do nothing to your field and become certified. In contrast, we focus on actively restoring the balance found in natural systems.”
Through applying specific trace minerals like iodine and a whole line of ultra-micronutrients. We analyzed the sap of the plants with the help of a lab and I think we’ve narrowed the problem down to excessive ammonium nitrates. If ammonia builds up in the plants, it’s bug food, so we need to figure out a way to convert ammonia fast. I came up with an enzyme cofactor which we’ll use to stimulate that ammonia conversion. We figure things out ourselves now rather than call up the chemical rep.
There’s a real science to walking through a field and pausing to feel what the plants are feeling. There’s a huge difference between walking in this field and walking in one that has had six fungicide applications. The plants just don’t radiate that same vitality. Another thing I learned is that every time you spray with a fungicide or something, it’s actually suppressing the plant as well as the fungi.
Just as in people, antibiotics can weaken a person’s immune system — they might kill the disease in plants, but then because it has weakened the plant, a week later the plant is much more susceptible to that same disease again. Instead of doing that, let’s figure out what this plant wants and provide it. They really do respond.
All organic farming means is that if you do nothing to your crops it is considered organic farming. But this is not interacting with the soil and the crops like Mr. Kempf is suggesting. Spraying chemicals on plans and leaving them go is not sustainable. Finding out what they need and reading the plants like a biological unit will give you the clues that you can use to help them improve their harvest.
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