Monday, June 07, 2010

Hatchet Job on Bioferts?

Is the MLA performing a hatchet job on biological fertilisers under the guise of scientific trials? Why do we ask? Because "science" has traditionally been used to discourage adoption of innovations that emerge from the grassroots and because the language used to report the project indicates that the outcome is predictable. The story starts with the blanket statement; "Australian farmers have always prided themselves on innovation but when it comes to alternative fertilisers, they're justifiably wary." Bioferts are considered dangerous by the scientists conducting the eight Producer Sites across southern Australia. Soil scientist Jeff Hirth is quoted as saying that "many farmers fall under the spell of clever marketing by alternative fertiliser products." Holbrook grazier Ian Locke - one of the participating graziers -also jumps to conclusions before the findings are in, saying, "It would be difficult to be a profitable low input production system." The MLA Research Adoption Manager Jane Weatherley felt confident enough of the outcome to make the sweeping statement: "Farmers want optimum beef production out of their land and not all the products on the market can enable that." How can you know the results of a race before the race has been run? WE predict that this project will repeat the recent Department of Industry and Investment report on pastures and soil carbon - finding that none of the alternative products will be validated by science and the reason will be found in the methodology. Products in the trials include TM21, Nutrisoil LS, CalSap, Bactivate, Prolong, RUM and single super a 123KG/HA. (Feedback, May 2010) COULD THIS be the pushback attack we have been anticipating? (Hint: The Sales Manager of one of the candidate bioferts was asked to supply one litre of product for the trial! This person revealed that the company had not been informed of the trials, nor was it consulted about application of the product. This is common practice when hatcheting. The DI&I last year failed to involve Col Seis in trials of pasture cropping in NSW, despite the fact that there are many conflicting definitions of the practice. Not only did they fail to consult the originator of the practice on the accuracy of the methodology, they sought to deny his role as originator in the final report.)

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