Exhaust emissions fertiliser

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Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Ian James » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:39 am

Hi to everyone, I have an interesting topic I would like to discuss.

I farm near Cunderdin on 2500 Ha.
Last year at the Carbon Farming Conference in Orange Jodi, my wife learnt about a new technology which utilises the polluting exhaust emissions from a tractor diesel engine and introduces the emissions with the seed as fertiliser.

My initial reaction to the information she brought home to me from the conference was typically sceptical. 8) Then I remembered how sceptical I was when Jodi first bought me a new book to read called "Back from the Brink" and how subsequently that book changed my entire outlook on sustainable agriculture and my ability to remain viable as a business,...>>>>>>>>>>> so I took a closer look. :shock:

The idea that a farmer could turn his tractor into a mobile fertiliser factory and do away completely with buying expensive, salty and acidic chemical fertilisers at first seems so attractive :lol: that it falls neatly into the too good to be true category. :|

This was what I thought, but then I remembered what I had been taught by Peter Andrews in his book. Peter teaches that plant and microbial activity in the soil can fix and find all the required nutrients from the environment to provide for healthy plant growth in future generations.
With this in mind I took a closer look at what is actually happening in the soil when high concentration raw chemical compounds are introduced. I went back to Peter's book and opened at a random page and there in front of me was a description of the destructive nature of the toxic chemical reactions happening in the soil when mineral fertilisers are introduced.

I researched data gathered from trial plots used to evaluate the effectiveness of the exhaust emissions on commercially grown wheat crops similar to what I grow on my farm and found that
    1 When emissions are used instead of chemical fertiliser there is no yield penalty
    2 When both fertiliser and emissions are combined there is no yield advantage

This made me realise that Perter was right; there must be a toxic effect from the addition of chemical fertilisers that is able to negate the positive effect of the emissions stimulant.

In Peter's book it is written that although super phosphate may have a short term stimulating effect this benefit comes at a price. The addition of fertilisers can upset the balance in a soil resulting in plants losing some of their resilience and quality as a food source. He also writes that it is a fact that chemical fertilisers kill soil micro-organisms which plants can then make use of as a food source but that the long term effect is of a sterile lifeless soil which relies solely on chemical additions to sustain productivity.

In business this is called racketeering, causing a disruption to a business then demanding payment to make the disruption go away. Al Capone would be proud.

Since the emissions fertiliser works and is free and relies on stimulating the soil micro-organisms to achieve increased plant growth, but cannot perform successfully in this way if expensive fertiliser is also added due to the decimation the microbe populations my mind was easily made up.

I decided that I would try this new technology on my farm over my entire program this year.
I felt it was compatible with my desire to follow Peter’s observations and guidance.

Peter writes that in the natural environment some plants extract fertility from the soil and others replace it. The result is a natural balance of plant types managed by the requirements of maintaining the balance of the soil fertility. He writes that it is possible to add chemical fertilisers that can enable fertility extractor types of plants to dominate which will eventually exhaust, deplete and weaken the soil.

This is what I believe has happened on my farm.

So by cutting chemical fertilisers from my program this seeding I was about to cut free from the yoke of dependence I had formed on the fertiliser supply companies that sucked the profitability from my enterprise and I have really begun to enable the micro-organisms I have recently become aware of to regain their foot hold in my soils as the dominant purveyor fertility and balance.

Fantastic.

I set to task to learn as much as I could about the technology and as funds were critically short I had no choice but to build my own mobile emissions fertiliser factory and fit it to my tractor. I did this in a few weeks before seeding began and subsequently sowed my entire program of 1500 Ha with zero fertiliser.

The results so far have been extremely positive. The crops bolted out of the ground in very dry conditions. Germination has been excellent and plant vigour astounding.
I did plant a trial paddock where I included fertiliser at the normal budgeted rate and from my initial observations there does seem to be a visibly poorer germination and a slower seedling growth rate in the paddock where I included the fertiliser.

I am not surprised at this result. It is in complete accordance to everything I have learnt from Peter Andrews.

I have calculated that I have reduced my seeding costs from $270/ha down to only $70/Ha.

This equates to a 50% reduction in my breakeven point in terms of yield.

Before I finish I want to add that the Avon Natural Sequence Farming Association will be holding a general information day to be followed by the AGM on Friday the 23rd of July to be held at the Cunderdin Tennis club at 1 pm.

Anyone interested is invited to attend and I am hoping for all our current and many new members to join us and help us plot our course for the sustainable future of farming in Australia.

duane
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Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:44 pm
Location: Central Coast, NSW
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Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby duane » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:33 am

Ian...good to hear from you and thanks for the great post.

I was particularly impressed with your ingenuity
I had no choice but to build my own mobile emissions fertiliser factory and fit it to my tractor".


That was the first amazing news.

The next was that this had enabled you to break the nexus of unsustainable farming and that was to do away with the addition of artificial fertilizers. A saving to you by my back of the envelope calcs of @ $300,000!!!!

The soil, the plants and the owners all have to be winners.

Lets hope its a good winter over there and a great harvest.

Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Ian James » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:56 am

Hi Duane, good to be back!!!! :D

Thats $300 000 I didn't have.
And I'll tell you what, I'll bet you I'm not Robinson Crusoe. Things have got pretty grim over here in the west and every dollar could be your last.

This sort of thing could be what saves the farming communities that we know and holds back the impersonal encroachment of the big careless money hungry soil destroying corporate farm conglomerates that are buying up all the land these days. :twisted:

Our choice was to leave or give it a go, and Jodi made it clear to me that leaving was not an option since she had found a possible solution she said
"there's no way you are giving up without having a shot at it mate. I dont want to spend the rest of my life wondering."

Thats the sort of motivation that can make you try anything!

Good on ya Jodi!

Jodi James
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:36 pm
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Jodi James » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:19 pm

Well Thanks Babe!
All I can say is when you have a such a fantastic husband that has a passion for farming,( and my passion for farming has grown at a rapid rate as well), I was prepared to put it all on the line one last time, go for it or go broke. I wasn’t going to let Ian feel like he had failed, we have had 2 bad frosts, It wasn’t a management issue here it was mother nature, and also a Multi-Peril grain company who took all our money!
One thing I was sick of was these FERT companies telling us lies. They do your soil analysis and then they pick the worst sample and do the tests from that. This was his advice! “You need to put on 150kgs of vigour and 150kgs of urea.” Who can afford that! No wonder we have no biology in the soil!!! they should be the ones responsible for the destruction of our land for advising us so poorly. They only see you once a year when it’s quoting time...and that’s a joke! We are in their hands. Not me anymore, I’ve broken that chain finally!
What I did notice is a pile of Fert that was spilled on the ground 2 years prior, that hadn’t washed away, you could basically go and put it back in the airseeder even after all that rain on it, It got me thinking that this salty crap we are spreading on is not really what they say it is, have we ever taken the time to get it analysed to see if we are really getting what we are paying for. Normally you would see a massive response around it but I even went back and chucked it around and there was no difference in the crop! Funny that! That’s what made me decide there must be another way. So I went looking! And thank god I did! We are still here to tell the story and help farmers break the dependence of fertiliser and farm the land they have such a passion doing. So this is what I came up with.
I found the emissions technology, I was reading my daily farm online email and read this bizarre story about sowing your crop with exhaust emissions, so I got on a plane and went to the conference! What a buzzzzzz, I pleaded for Gary Lewis the inventor to come to WA and look at our farm, he came but his one question to me was....Why aren’t you growing corn? What a question. I was stunned, He was saying that we had the perfect farm for corn and the emissions works the best on sandy soils which is about 70% of our farm. So we then decided It was on the programme, we were going to do it. But harvest came and 400ha of Canola was frosted, and so was our wheat and so on.....the money didn’t come in and it was April and it was time to get this machine fitted to the tractor, we couldn’t afford it, so I sent Gary North and the machine went to a friend’s farm. I was devastated, all that work, and then the stress of how we were going to grow a crop with no money!, I then encouraged Ian to make our own, I knew we could do it. I spent hours looking at pictures and reading blogs and we came up with an idea. A nightmare in the making but we got through seeding with a lot of hiccups and breakdowns and many arguments. What a challenge, and a big risk of the unknown, was it going to work!
I’ve spent the last 5 years researching the soil biology and bugs, and looking at our plants and wondering why our root systems were so poor and why they smelt putrid. It’s not lack of fertiliser here, it’s a lack of soil microbes . You don’t have to be Einstein to work that one out. VAM feeds the plant and sources the fertiliser for the plant in exchange for sunlight and CO2 . It’s as simple as that! If your wondering what VAM is, its the fine white hairy stuff that’s in your compost. You can add it to your soil in a granular form or spray it on. The soil food web...google that and it will tell you the story! The soils alive book was my bible! I finally pulled it out of the cupboard and started reading parts of it again, It then clicked, everything I had read was coming together, The emissions was the missing link to promoting a healthy soil...WOW, that made me even more focussed on this path we were taking. (There has been one man who has inspired me to look at this further, Maarten Stapper, what a legend). I bought his CD’s it says it all.
What the Emissions does is unlock the P that’s tied up. It’s simple...It creates a warm moist environment with micro nutrients and carbon, and it neutralises the soil to create optimum soil ph for the seed to grow in.
Ian gave me the order to make a seed dressing that wasn’t going to cost the earth, but create some extra nutrients for the seed.... So I searched for the best products, RAW materials which were cheap, with no middle man who charged a fortune and made a smelly but potent brew. It was disgusting getting behind the tractor wheel after Ian had been there! Phew what a stink but man did it get that seed bolting out of the ground. One thing I have noticed is the bugs...they are there but they are attacking the weeds! Not the plants. I’m sure this is the way farming is, nature, not insecticides! (WA sold out this season)....God help us!
You don’t need to spend all this money on all these expensive products, Make your own. Use your knowledge on plant nutrition and experiment. I did and it worked.
Come and see for yourself, we are happy to share our knowledge and help farmers stay here, It’s not about the money or the big fancy machinery, It’s about living each day and watching our children grow and hopefully being still here in 10 years time. I know that my food produce will be a better quality with less chemicals, and therefore if enough of us farmers get together, we may be able to sell our produce to a specialised market.
I can’t thank Peter Andrews enough, has also been a huge inspiration for us to change our ways, and I was determined to change the husband who had the blinkers on in the beginning. What a challenge, but he’s coming around at a rapid rate, keep it up Ian.

Thankyou Peter!
Open mindedness opens wisdom

duane
Posts: 1159
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:44 pm
Location: Central Coast, NSW
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Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby duane » Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:32 pm

Inspirational stuff Jodi and Ian....the kind of thing dreams are made of.

You are both the future of farming in WA...keep showing the way.

Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Ian James » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:12 am

Last week a photographer visited from the farm weekly magazine. He was interested in my home made mobile fertilizer factory. He asked me all sorts of questions and seemed very supportive of my theories and perspectives. Today this weeks edition came out and, how about that, we got a front page spread!! Also there was a misprint announcing that I am organizing a presentation of this machinery on Wednesday 21st at 1pm.
It was supposed to read Friday 23rd at 1pm.
Oh well since I have already sent out all the media notices and there is no way to change what has already been printed it looks like I will be having two days now.
day 1 on Wednesday to present my fertilizer factory and Day Two on Friday to have a General NSF information day and NSF AGM.
So thanks to a misprint I am presenting two days instead of 1. Go with the flow I say.

Angela Helleren
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 6:45 am
Location: Victoria

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Angela Helleren » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:35 am

Sounds very interesting! Hope both days are a huge success for you, Jodi and Ian. :D
Many hands make light work.
Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.
Back to basics.

Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Ian James » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:48 pm

Phew! I am bushed ....but so exhilarated too.

The day was a great success.

I was up early to shift a mob of hungry ewes and lambs. The mums all ran off to the fresh pasture leaving me to walk their bleating babies down the lane way. It took forever and I had to get home to prepare for my presentation.
Luckily Jodi turned up at the nick of time and we belted around in the ute picking up all the lambs who had lost their way and had separated from the flock and taking them to the new paddock to be found by mum once she'd had a good feed and came back looking for lambie with a full udder of milk.

Lambs and mums sorted we raced home to get things ready, just in time we got to the Tennis club and set things up as the first farmers began to arrive. A big thank you to my mate Michael who helped me set up and put together for me a PowerPoint presentation of all my photos of the emissions machine.

I had a good turn up and began by introducing myself, I felt unfamiliar with my role at the front of the group and struggled a bit at first to keep myself making sense.

I explained how after reading Peters book my whole perspective on farming had changed and how since that moment I had embarked on a learning journey that had awakened me to a completely new understanding of how as a farmer I can manage my soils without spending large amounts of money as I had been taught by farm merchandise salesmen. How I had learnt to become a farmer of micro biology and the soil food web which is free rather than a farmer of chemicals and minerals which I have to buy.

I asked those present who among them had heard of mychorhiza fungi and VAM, only a couple had so I explained as best I could how these organisms which live in the soil had become depleted as a result of the currently accepted best practice farming methods which we all use. I explained how these organisms and others in the soil have been neglected by farmers with devastating results. I explained how these organisms have the ability to provide complete nutrition for our crops through the complex soil food web which our current farming methods are breaking down, disrupting and destroying.

I spoke to the group about exhaust emissions and how by utilising emissions fertiliser it was possible to grow a far more profitable crop without reducing the yield potential by eliminating chemical fertilisers completely from the inputs.

I explained that every treatment we apply to our soils has both positive and negative effects and that as in the case of chemical fertilisers if the positive effect is greater than the negative effect we only see the positive effect. Or if the negative effect is greater then we only notice the negative effect even if there has been a smaller beneficial effect.
I said this is what people fail to realise occurs in the soil when they use chemical fertilisers. They only see the beneficial effect.
That does not mean there is no negative effect, in fact the negative effect is huge, that is why we are required to apply so much of the stuff to get a profitable yield. So much in fact that we are creating a toxic effect in the soil that is slowly sending our soils sterile.

I asked them to consider that research shows that only 5% of the chemical fertiliser applied is utilised by the plants in the year that it is applied leaving 95% unused, locked up, leached or whatever.

What if we could apply fertiliser with minimal negative effect?
How much then would we need to apply to achieve the same yield response as we currently do?
The answer is, a hell of a lot less!
Also.
What if we could achieve 95% utilisation of our fertiliser application and only 5% locked up or lost? How much then would we need to apply to achieve the same yield response that we currently do?
The answer is, a hell of a lot less!
I said to them that for those that think that it is impossible that emissions fertiliser could have the same yield response as chemical fertiliser since there is no way the emissions can apply the same amount of nutrients to the soil to have a think about that.
The fact is that emissions fertiliser does achieve the same yield response as chemical fertiliser, the question is how?
I can't answer that and at this time I don't believe anyone can definitely. But what I can do is join the dots and when I do that the answer is staring at me in the face.

Emissions has a lower negative effect in the soil allowing enhanced stimulating effect from applied nutrients far greater than that of chemical fertiliser .
Acceptable?......I think so.
Emissions nutrients are presented to the soil food web in a highly available form allowing for enhanced stimulating effect from applied nutrients far greater than that of chemical fertiliser.
Acceptable?....What do you think?

Also, just what are we stimulating in the soil? It's the micro biology, and what can micro biology do? It can unlock locked up nutrients from chemical fertilisers that have been applied years before.

Just think, we have been using fertilisers for 70 years, since the 40s but probably even earlier and each year only 5% of what we put on is utilised, and during the last 20 years farmers have developed the logistics that enables them to apply between 100% and 150% more fertiliser every year than they did each year in earlier times.
So much so that it is not unreasonable to say that farmers have applied more fertilisers per hectare in the last 20 years than they did in the previous 50 combined. In fact I believe that would be a conservative assumption.

With that in mind remember that scientists tell us that only 5% of applied fertiliser is utilised in the year that it is applied.
So what has happened to that other 95% every year for the last 70 years? Where is it?
Let’s think, now that is say 100 kg per year for 40 years say....... 95% still there every year say....that is 95kg times 40 years....
ok that’s 3800 kilograms of fertiliser, still in the soil.

You know what? I think that amount would be toxic.
Do you?

So let’s now think that we can stimulate the soil microbes to access this fertiliser bank, remembering they only need to make available the equivalent of 5 kg of these nutrients each year to get the yield response we have all been banking on, that makes for enough fertiliser to crop with these yields for 760 years without adding another drop of fertiliser!

Now that has got to be a winner!

We all came back to my farm afterwards and inspected my crops.

I will add some photos in my next post but I can say this, comments I recieved were very, very positive such as
"I have never seen a root system like that in my life!"

Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Ian James » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:38 am

Photo of my Emissions machine
Image
Picture of my crop
Image
Picture if the root systems
Image
Picture of zero fertiliser plants
Image

Angela Helleren
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 6:45 am
Location: Victoria

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Angela Helleren » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:56 am

Fantastic Ian! Good to hear your presentation was well received.
It seems all you need is an inexpensive/convenient way to keep your crops frost free? Thinking caps on... :D

Cheers to you and Jodi

PS.. Just been reading http://www.grdc.com.au/uploads/document ... _Frost.pdf
Many hands make light work.

Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.

Back to basics.

Jodi James
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:36 pm
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Jodi James » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:55 pm

Hey! We made the news !!!
Check this story
http://fw.farmonline.com.au/news/state/ ... torypage=1
Open mindedness opens wisdom

Jodi James
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:36 pm
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Jodi James » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:34 pm

I don't have a degree or any trade, but there is one thing I have learn't in the last few days, and that is that farmers have no idea about soil biology. What are these advisors teaching our farmers?

Farmers are spending a fortune on advice but all they are getting is advice on adding more chemical and more fertiliser. They aren't even looking at the health of the biology under the ground. We asked questions on who knew about soil biology and how a plant actually got it's nutrients, not too many knew. Too much focus is whats on top instead of what is happening under the soil. Soil health is a big part of growing things....Why are we missing the cruital part of nature.

There is one thing about emissions I have noticed, The plant root and shoots are healthy. There is just a massive mass of roots under the soil. It is moist and the soil is sticking to the roots. Nothing like I have ever seen before. The soil biology is doing it's job! and I didn't have to pay anyone for their magic potions.

It's not a con, Something in the emissions is doing something under the soil, I can't tell you right now as I am only still learning what this technology has to offer. What I am seeing is remarkable, and I am excited.....and everyone that has looked at my crops over the last few days thinks the same.

There is one thing that is troubling me though, and that I heard over and over during the past few days was "I'm not going to be able to farm next year, I've lost so much money, we can't keep going" If there is one thing that makes me smile with this exhaust emissions technology, maybe that farmer that's doing it tough, like I was last year, might have that glimmer of hope to give it a go next year, one last time. If I can help someone keep farming, then I know that I have acheived what I set out to do, and that is spread the word and tell people that this is even better than fertiliser. Why? because I made it myself and I didn't have to pay anyone to sell me fertiliser! To me that's an acheivement! I've broken the chain, and I'm hoping that you will to, you won't regret it.

We don't need all this stress day in and day out, farming is supposed to be a pleasure. Now I can sleep at night knowing I haven't risked all that money up front if the season is bad. Good luck pluck up the courage and give it a go...you will be finacially and physically better off.
Open mindedness opens wisdom

Jodi James
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:36 pm
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Jodi James » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:34 pm

Hi I forgot to tell you, this emissions machine is pumping 1100kgs of carbon into the soil per Ha. That's not bad considering you have already paid for the fuel. Also Biochar costs around $7000 per ton so when you think about the costs of spreading and freight...It costs me nothing to use the mobile fertilizer factory! :D
Open mindedness opens wisdom

Julian
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:57 pm

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Julian » Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:47 pm

Fantastic Stuff Ian and James. A couple of questions for you. How do you measure the carbon coming out of the Machine? Do you think it can be sprayed on the surface, for existing pasture?

Ian James
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Avon West Australia

Re: Exhaust emissions fertiliser

Postby Ian James » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:37 pm

Hi Julian thanks for your post.
How can the carbon coming out of the machine be measured?

That would require taking a sample of the exhaust emissions to analyse the carbon content. This is simple science readily available.
Once the carbon content of the emissions is established it should be compared to a sample of the treated emissions at the seed boot.
Also a soil sample pre sowing should be analysed and compared to a sample taken from the seed bed directly post sowing.
The information from the complete set of sample data should be enough when compared to control samples to deduce the carbon that is being sequestered in the soil.
The real X factor though which must not be ignored is the total sequestration rate once the stimulated soil biology have multiplied and digested and created humus and plant feed throughout a whole season. The sequestration that can be achieved from igniting the natural sequence of soil biology.

I believe this technology could be definately used to capture nutrients from exhaust emissions to be applied to soils by many existing commonly used technologies such as foliar spraying. Obviously heat must be dealt with and a heat exchange system would need to be developed to manage this for any application method, be that gaseous or liquid.


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