Gary Zimmer spoke at Bromborough Estate, Poddington, Northants – on Monday 7th November 2016.
James Warne has kindly provided the following overview of Gary’s talk:
Over 70 BASE-UK members and associates packed into the Shooting Lodge at Bromborough Estate to hear Gary Zimmer speak about his knowledge of biological farming. Gary spoke for over an hour before taking questions for another 1 ½ hours. Topics included soil biological and chemical health, the effects of soil health on livestock, humans and nutrient dense food. I think it’s fair to say it was delivered at a furious pace, most of the time!
The talk began with a little history of how Gary had arrived at his version of biological farming via conventional and then organic practices. Having been trained by Albrecht, (who originally began life as a microbiologist) Gary understood the importance of calcium levels within the soil. There was a good discussion on the difference between what the soil test shows as available calcium and what is actually plant available.
The talk continued placing emphasis on the importance of understanding the correct mineral balance within the soil and the importance of not underestimating the importance and relative amounts of the major and minor elements. How the need to produce nutrient dense food impacted upon human health and animal health. A great deal of the common ailments suffered by the human population and within the livestock we raise could all be traced back to a shortage of a particular mineral or combination thereof.
The merits of soil organic matter, humus and carbon were also discussed, especially the differences between organic matter return from cover crops.
The floor was then opened up to questions from the audience before being wrapped up with a warm thanks to Gary Zimmer for his presentation and Andrew Mahon for hosting us by Richard Harding. I am certain that those who attended will agree it was a truly inspirational few hours.
Gary Zimmer – Frequently described as the father of biological farming, Gary Zimmer has spent 30 years developing and honing a system of farming that focuses on ‘Better farming through better soils’. This increasingly proven approach, now known as biological farming, seeks to balance chemistry, biology, (earthworms to microbes), and soil structure. His forthright views on the future of min tillage and direct drilling in this context are stimulating and entertaining.
Gary describes an approach to farming now practised on more than a million acres across 29 states in the USA, as well as in Canada and Australia, that is focused on delivering profitability for farmers at world commodity prices. Cultivation practices, rotations, cover crops and the role of balanced quality fertilisers will all be discussed in length. He explains how farmers are increasing yields while reducing purchased inputs and building the fertility required for truly sustainable farming.
Gary’s company, Midwestern Bioag, advises more than 3,500 USA growers, both organic and conventional. His demonstration farm in Wisconsin has received may visits from UK growers and attracted rave reviews.