I recently graduated with a degree in Agricultural Science, a multifaceted science which is a mix of geology, biology, chemistry, meteorology, engineering, economics and legislation. My graduating cohort was 60% female (21/35) and many people including myself did not come from an agriculture background. I grew up in the suburbs of a reasonably large town, and while I was always interested in agriculture, I had never worked on a farm before I started. After spending my teenage years and early 20s making bad decisions, I decided to do a bridging course at my local university to get me a new admissions score, choosing to focus on Chemistry, Anatomy and Environmental Science. The Environmental Science component of this course exposed me to [this TedTalk] (https://youtu.be/4EUAMe2ixCI) which got me thinking about all the environmental good a sustainable agriculture industry could provide.

I have worked throughout my degree on a couple of farms, for a trial plot company doing breeding line research, as a paid intern doing weed science and herbicide resistance research, as a casual laboratory technician and a laboratory demonstrator, teaching Botany, Soil Science, Animal Anatomy (with my greyhound Boo) and Biology. Currently I am working as a lab tech on a few plant physiology projects, mostly relating to frost exposure triggering flowering, and how different plants "remember" how long they have been exposed to cold temperatures. Next year I hope to do my honours project on how different environmental conditions make poisonous plants more or less toxic to livestock.

Agricultural Science is a really interesting field (no pun intended) where you can do a lot of different things. Some of my classmates will go back to their family farm with a whole bunch of new ideas to improve things, some will work in a bank, some will work in consultancy, some will work in research. There are many programs where graduates can travel to developing countries and make a huge difference to subsistence farming communities who are vulnerable to climate change and the whims of corporate agriculture.

I am located in the NSW Riverina, Australia in the wheat/sheep belt. Happy to answer questions on my degree, the industry in general, questions about plants, and if you have questions about your garden I will do my best to help.

[This is a screenshot of my transcript for proof] (https://imgur.com/a/Tbv1INJ)

Comments: 126 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

jreid640133 karma

How good does it feel to be working a job that's in the career field you spent time and effort studying for? Is it worth all of the time invested to have not only a better job but one you feel passionate about?

AgDirtPerson55 karma

Every week my wife wakes up and exclaims "IT'S FRIDAY!!" all excited for the weekend. Since I graduated, this has genuinely surprised me because I honestly stopped counting the hours to the weekend like I have done in every job I have worked beforehand... The work itself can be very boring and repetitive (weighing out 1.00 gram of soil 15,000 times, or data entry into an excel spreadsheet for ten hours straight) but the people I work with are all really interesting and we have great chats. Plus I like to turn it into a game- see how close I can estimate exactly 1.00g of soil just using my naked eye and try to beat my record... seems dumb but it really helps pass the time.

Is it worth it? I think so. My Degree cost me around AU$28k and I was able to make some lifelong friends and always made enough through pub jobs and then uni jobs to have an okay house, diet, car and lifestyle throughout.

username1181313 karma

Hi! I hope this question is appropriate for the sort of studies that you do (it may be closer to nutritionist or other health studies) but how concerned should I really be about the amount of chemicals, hormones, etc. going into my body from the foods I buy?

I dont know if this matters, but I live in the U.S. and buy my groceries at a major grocery chain (walmart).

AgDirtPerson42 karma

This is a very important question to ask, and unfortunately one where legislation is not keeping up with the industry.

The current elephant in the room is glyphosate (Roundup). In the old days a sales rep from the company which makes Roundup would go to field days and drink a glass of Roundup to show off how safe it was. Now we get a bit more murky... the EU banned glyphosate, citing health and environmental concerns, but it is still used in Australia and in the US. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that it is a "probable carcinogen" and the next most common herbicide used, 2-4D, is a "possible carcinogen". All sounds super scary right? But you should also remember that the WHO also describes salami as a group 1 confirmed carcinogen, and maybe you should be careful of fearmongering.

In terms of hormones, in Australia there are strict limits and huge quantities of produce have been incinerated for violating the limits of antibiotic use among livestock to reduce the chance of "superbugs". The science is far from settled, but I believe that based on the current knowledge, we are doing the right thing.

The other side being growing organics. One common expression is, "Organic farming is taking land which could have fed 1,000 people and using it to feed 10". An interesting example of this is organic cotton. In Australia and the US, a large amount of the land grown to cotton, (91% of Australia) is genetically modified Bt-cotton, a cotton which has been grown to produce a toxin which special bacteria make which kills caterpillars. The organic alternative is to just walk around your field spraying that bacteria and hoping a caterpillar accidentally eats it... this anti science mindset is troubling and results in land, water and other inputs being used to grow a failed crop. As much flak as the cotton guys get and the very reasonable debate on if we should even grow cotton in this country, the cottonCRC is actually right out in front of all this stuff. Their integrated pest management designs are really advanced. It's a mix of trap crops, maximising biodiversity, breeding native biocontrol, transgenic crops, and sprays are always the last resort, with species specific sprays used first.

The more extreme version of organics being biodynamics. These people are strictly organic and base their management on astrology, like, "only plant brocoli when Mercury is rising in the East and you have buried a cow horn in your field". If you want to reduce your exposure to chemicals you could try to find a biodynamics farmers market, but I suspect there is little justification for doing so.

Should you be worried? Probably not, there are strict legislative controls to make sure the food you eat is safe. Should you pay attention to the latest research? Definitely!

aHoneyBadger13 karma

As a commercial grower, I appreciate your nuanced take on GMOs. But your wholesale rejection of alternative agriculture is misguided and counterproductive. Slurring organic agriculture as "anti-science", especially, is naive and demonstrably untrue. Conventional ag has adopted many science-based methods pioneered by the organic movement, such as legume-focused crop rotations, building soil organic matter, and promotion of biodiversity. The central tenants of IPM, which you rightfully tout, are taken right out of the organic playbook as a response to one of the sins of conventional ag: overuse of pesticides.

Conversely, organic agriculture can learn from conventional ag. Soil-building no-till practices, for example, were pioneered in conventional ag and are now spreading in the organic industry.

Next, the direct comparison of land use is overly simplistic and ignores externalities imposed by conventional ag. For example, dousing your field in fertilizer might give a better yield, but the runoff that kills a fishery downstream is not considered. I am more sympathetic to the point that organic ag uses more carbon inputs to farm the same amount of land. We have to stop thinking in this compartmentalized way and take a comprehensive view of things. Admittedly this is hard for scientists who's entire careers are devoted to the study of minutia, but the hippies are right: everything is connected.

I encourage you to take a more open-minded approach to biology, of which we still have a lot to learn. One thing I'm excited about right now are the developments in the study of mycorrhizal networks and microbiota-induced disease resistance in plants that support the Organic thesis that ecological dynamics should be fostered, not fought.

However, we can both share a laugh at the few loonies managing their farm based on the position of Venus.

AgDirtPerson2 karma

This is a great comment. Sorry I did over simplify a very complex situation. My intention was simply to state that you don't need to get caught in the fearmongering and have a kneejerk reaction of avoiding conventionally grown crops, like how the organic cotton guys had a kneejerk reaction in avoiding GMOs. I do follow alternative and regenerative agriculture intently and always keep an eye on what the literature says about it.

In my experience, most producers seem to be inclined like yourself: they don't just follow Rudolf Steiner and Allan Savory verbatim, they pick out the best bits of everything they are exposed to and trial what works and what doesn't on their system, and I think the creation of farmer to farmer grower networks is extremely valuable.

irie_day6 karma

Hey thanks for doing this AMA. As an MS graduate in Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences- I'm going to have to disagree here. GMO's are the future. These should be encouraged and invested in.

Chemicals such as glyphosate have scientific backing for the concerns that surround them. You drink the cup of glyphosate and I'll look into alternative, more natural pesticides.

AgDirtPerson2 karma

I knew it was the elephant in the room haha. I think GMOs are extremely valuable and hope that one day consumers will be more open to them. In terms of chemical control in general, I think it needs to be a part of an integrated management system, combined with cultural and genetic controls. Even things like sowing your crop East to West have been shown to make a reduction in weed numbers without having to spray anything or spend anything.

kanyeezy246 karma

What kind of toll does the job and industry take on your mental health?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

In the little bit of exposure to academia I have had, its definitely the politics which is the hardest part. If you can get lucky enough to surround yourself with good people who make things easier, then its fine. 15+ hour days in the sun, dirt and flies can get to you after a while, but that is usually just at harvest time.

In agriculture in general, mental health is a big issue because everything is a gamble: you can be the most switched on operator who did everything correct, but get stitched up by the weather or a currency fluctuation on the other side of the planet.

Gloomheart6 karma

I live in an apartment in Canada, no balcony, but I think we've got a little community plot.

Is it reasonable for a single person to grow the vast majority of their staple veg (tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce and cucumbers) in just an outdoor plot fairly easily? I've never gardened before and I don't have a tonne of spare time. I assume some plants are easier kept and more robust than others? Could these be grown indoors fairly easily as well?

I guess just some tips on getting my feet into agriculture would be great! City dweller with the heart of a farmer, and it's always been a dream of mine to be more self sufficient.

fisch093 karma

Check the people out over at /r/hydro they've been super helpful over the year I've been growing. Herbs are typically low light plants that are easy to grow, and will adapt to what it's given. Also Jeb gardener on YouTube has a lot of great videos on different growing strategies.

Gloomheart1 karma

Thanks :)

AgDirtPerson2 karma

Seems like you got some greap places to start. One of the best things about being on a small scale is that it give you a lot of room to experiment with different potting media and try different vertical agriculture techniques. My town also has a cashless garden market, where you take along your zucchinis and swap them for other people's produce, maybe you could find or start something like that.

I guess just some tips on getting my feet into agriculture would be great!

There are big companies in Australia like GrainCorp which hire harvest casuals with no experience to work at their silos when the wheat harvest is on. Presumably the same thing happens in Canada. Harvest is October- January here, depending on the conditions that season. In Canada it is probably also 2-4 months in Summer. On farm jobs usually require knowing someone and for entry level positions usually involve driving a chaser bin, but you can get lucky and see them advertised sometimes.

There are Facebook groups which hire stationhands for work in remote cattle stations, presumably the same thing in Canada. You could get (probably poorly paid) work for a few months mustering to get your foot in the door and see if you like it.

Or you could do your ag work in another country. Working holiday visas in Australia require the applicant to do 88 days of their work in the middle of nowhere, and you see a lot of backpackers fruit picking and driving tractors.

mr_manhattan6 karma

In your opinion, what can the ag industry do to combat misinformation to the consumer? Obvious examples being the non-GMO labelling/fearmongering, the glyphosate concerns you alluded to, or even the use of certain seed treatments and how they affect the environment around them? The misinformation being spread on one topic (non-GMO) affects the way members of the industry dismiss research about another topic (neonicotinoids) and it becomes a political us vs them stance. What sources of information would you rely on without concern for pesticide companies or lobbying groups being the original sponsor? As an industry employee I honestly don’t know what to believe on certain divisive topics anymore!

AgDirtPerson2 karma

This is probably going to sound like a bit of a flakey answer, but when I read your question I just had this flashback to standing in a gigantic barley field putting up fencing, when a giant header (combine harvester) probably worth half a million dollars came rolling down the crest of the hill with a brand new tractor and chaser bin coming after it. I looked at the header, the tractor, the area of the land, all of the people involved, the transport, the storage, research and development, the training, the insurance, the taxes, and just thought to myself, "how does a carton of beer not cost $500!?"

I think some kind of exchange program where consumers spend some time in their teenage years seeing what goes into a loaf of bread would really help to decrease the divide.

I think you're touching on a bigger issue of political lobbying too.

61121154 karma

Could use the water output from a warm farm in a hydroponics setup to give plants the nutrients they need?

AgDirtPerson6 karma

Sorry, do you mean worm farm?

I know of one operation who is using worm farm extracts on a broadacre application. The science is only just starting to trickle out, but anecdotally they seem to have happy customers for what it is worth... https://nutrisoil.com.au/

skillpolitics3 karma

What’s you’re favorite plant part? I’m a fan of the Casparian strip.

AgDirtPerson2 karma

One of my favourite words to say is coleoptile.

azsmith113 karma

I have a few Qs. Feel free to respond to to one or none.

What are your thoughts on the 20B people by 2050 problem? I often ponder food production vs food waste. Can’t we already grow enough food?

Interested in your thoughts on soil degradation too... How much longer will our soil last if current cultivation methods persist?

Any thoughts on where hydroponics fits into the big picture? I believe this is a growing sector in Australia.

Good to hear of others that are passionate about the sustainable ag science. The problems require a a multi-facet approach, so I trust that your broad background will continue to serve you well. We need more plant physiologists. I was an urban kid too, but when I saw how you can science the shit out of growing a tomato in a greenhouse I found my passion.

AgDirtPerson1 karma

What are your thoughts on the 20B people by 2050 problem? I often ponder food production vs food waste. Can’t we already grow enough food?

It seems to me to be a distribution and waste problem, worldwide there are now more obese (obese not overweight) people than underweight people30054-X/fulltext).

Interested in your thoughts on soil degradation too...

The research suggests that the trend is away from intensive cultivation into conservation tillage, something like 95% of continuously cropped country in Australia is reduced till. This brings with it a bunch of new problems like stratification of nutrients and acidity and the dependence on herbicides.

How much longer will our soil last if current cultivation methods persist?

This is also a nuanced question because farming systems are so complicated, and simply switching to no-til is not an option on some systems because of issues with things like non-wetting sands. There is a huge amount of variability which comes with changing climates too: droughts lead to overgrazing, which leads to erosion; changes in rainfall distribution may increase runoff.

Any thoughts on where hydroponics fits into the big picture? I believe this is a growing sector in Australia.

The main place I see hydroponics is in fodder containers. Which are starting to become cost effective. I think this will be big for broadacre.

octochan3 karma

Thanks for posting this!

I watched and enjoyed the Ted talk you linked, but can't help but feel overwhelmed by how bleak the current state of agriculture butting heads with environmentalism is. Are there things you feel hopeful about in your industry regarding this divide? Can I ask what you and your wife tend to eat and where you get your grub?

AgDirtPerson2 karma

Are there things you feel hopeful about in your industry regarding this divide?

This whole project gives me so much hope. Essentially they found a type of seaweed which reduces cattle methane emissions by increasing production. It's a win-win situation where the free market is motivated to take action on climate change. One of the species of seaweed grows in tropical waters so you could create a new industry in developing countries where traditional income from fishing is not possible anymore. You could focus this investment in Somalia and stop terrorists from taking advantage of disenfranchised communities and prevent piracy.

Can I ask what you and your wife tend to eat and where you get your grub?

We get hellofresh a few times per week, but it isn't really my favourite. We tend to eat vegetarian two or three days per week.

ObjectivismForMe3 karma

During your plot works, has anybody ever said you are "outstanding in your field"? - just kidding.

What plot experiment surprised you the most?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

It was actually this failed trial plot. I'd never seen such crazy edge effects

Haeenki2 karma

I spent a lot of time on a farm as a kid in the mid to late 90s in central Europe. On a scientific level what will have changed in procedures and the way things are done since then? Glyphosate is a big point but it seems like on the field it's become a much more scientific and exact process in the last 20 years.

AgDirtPerson1 karma

I can only speculate on your area, but I suspect you would see a trend of fewer, larger farms with huge investments on machinery to maximise every last bit of efficiency they can get. Potato sowing is so satisfying to watch.

DeNomoloss2 karma

You're doing a lot of what my dad did here in the US! He worked more on plant reproduction specifically in mountain climates, and even in retirement he's doing work on plant epidemiology, periodically observing and recording the progress of hemlock diseases.

What's your favorite ornamental and why?

AgDirtPerson2 karma

He worked more on plant reproduction specifically in mountain climates, and even in retirement he's doing work on plant epidemiology

That's interesting, a lot of pathologists go the other way and move into breeding because thats where the big bucks are.

What's your favorite ornamental and why?

Macropidia fuliginosa. Kangaroo Paws remind me of my wife and her hometown, and the black KP is notorious for how fickle it is and reluctant to stay alive. Honourable mention to Swainsona formosa because I just love the part of the world it is native to.

Don78752 karma

I am starting to get into tissue culture plants in my house and want to start looking into genetics. Can you point me in the right direction for a lab guide I could use at home to alter genes? And what would you use to do so? Agrobacterium?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

Its been around since forever, so you've probably already come across it, but the only book on this topic I own is Plants from Test Tubes: An Introduction to Micropropagation, Lydiane Kyte, John Kleyn, Holly Scoggins and Mark Bridgen. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

lovelifelivelife2 karma

I've always been interested in studying agricultural science or anything to do with plants and the environment. But it's so expensive to do so. Are there other ways of getting into the field?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

In Australia you can get work as a research technician without a tertiary education. I have learned so much from asking techies questions. Depending on where you are you might be able to get a qualification equivalent to a Certificate IV in Ag/Hort which costs around AU$8000 and takes around 6 months of online study I think. Depending on where you are you might be able to pick up seasonal/harvest/picking/mustering work with no experience and use it to get your foot in the door and see if you like it.

nipps012 karma

Might be a tad late to the party but I recently completed a degree in biotechnology and have been looking for jobs more in the agricultural industry as my intrest lies mostly in the cellular level of crops, would a master's of ag science be a good next step? Currently living in melbourne and not sure if I want to go down the research path or go to industry but all the industry jobs seem to want people with phds.

AgDirtPerson1 karma

There is certainly a large overlap between biotech and ag, especially in breeding. Breeders use PCR for EVERYTHING these days. In Australia it seems like where you would want to work is CSIRO in this field. I was there in Canberra yesterday and everyone is a bit stressed out by the employment cap, so they're not hiring at the moment, but they might be by the time you finish. I would recommend also trying to partner up with a private breeder like DuPont Pioneer or AGT when you are designing your research project so that you can get your face out there that way.

dannydsan1 karma

Not sure this is in your line of work, but what do you think about Amazonian Dark Earth (ADE) AKA Terra Preta? Do you think that the tribes in the amazon made this soil on accident or do you think it was thought up and made?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

I had only heard of it in passing, but if it was beneficial it makes sense to me that it would have been a feedback loop- the ash made the soil better so people kept turning up there and lit fires which made the soil better. There are people investigating the agricultural uses of biochar.

rainumi1 karma

Hello! What do you think about virtual farming? (Like CropOne)

AgDirtPerson1 karma

I think this area is very interesting, their water use efficiency and fertiliser use efficiency can be amazing without pesticides. I hope one day the energy requirement can be reduced. I mentioned in an earlier reply that there is a broadacre application which is beginning to become cost effective.

shaylebo1 karma

I’ve heard there’s only 60 harvests left until the soil is completely depleted. What’s your stance on regenerative agriculture involving livestock, like what the Savory Institute does?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

This is an important question. I really admire the sentiment of the Savory Institute but not always their methods. Savory makes a huge number of claims about the benefits of holistic management, and they present themselves as super scientific citing the work of Richard Teague mainly. This leaves them open to review and there are a large number of literature reviews (here is a good free one) which find that the science behind the benefits is exaggerated or conflicting. Many of the publications simply find that ANY management is better than no management.

In saying that, you can get many Savory Institute publications for free and they make for interesting reading which may be incorporated into other areas of interest. Many producers do not take this on/off approach and will just pick the best bits out of every system they see to trial in their own system, so these ideas do definitely have merit.

Every time a paper comes out about the benefits of short term, high density rotational grazing, Allan Savory makes a lot of noise saying, "See!? I told you holistic management was the best!"
Every time a paper comes out saying that there is no benefit to short term, high density rotational grazing, Allan Savory says, "this is cell grazing, it is different to holistic management, if you want to know more buy my book".

breathequilibrium1 karma

Not sure if you're still answering, but!

I'm a farmer who's worked on a number of different types of farms. From permaculture farms, to larger scale organic market farms, botanical gardens, and indoor hydroponic greens farms. I've enjoyed my time in production, but am really interested in research ag. Do you think there are any solid ways for us working within traditional ag to transition into more research based field work besides grad school? Or luck? Obviously farming doesn't make me much money, so grad school is a tough option for me. But I'm really interested in practically working to change our food systems.

Thanks for the response, if you get time!

AgDirtPerson2 karma

I have learned a lot from techies who have had no tertiary education. I think it is important to have boots on the ground who have lived and breathed this stuff. I was out driving with a very well respected PhD just this week who was surprised to see headers (combine harvesters) going at 7am. The tech who was with us said, "they have to cut lupins while there is still dew on the ground otherwise the grain will crack". This is exactly why we need people like yourself to become research technicians!

AquaShldEXE1 karma

How does that degree translate to bank work? I have a similar degree, and knowing so may help in my job search.

AgDirtPerson2 karma

My understanding is that banks pay employees with an ag background to assess the risk of loaning money to agricultural businesses.

Beaudism1 karma

Hey dude. Would it be possible to create a hydroponic garden where theoretically you could recycle nutrients by growing the plants and using them to feed other plants?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

The export of plants for produce would be the killer here: the things which limit plants are 1) air and space. presumably this isn't a problem. 2) water. the amount of water you export by harvesting is small, but also plants are greedy with water so you would need to water the whole outfit. 3) nitrogen. Most plants are pretty efficient at scavenging nitrogen so you probably wouldn't get any excess if you applied it correctly. 4) phosphorous. P is notorious for binding to soil, so you wouldn't get much recycling.

Combining plants with aquaponics https://youtu.be/-z1kozprw8Y

waterbombardment1 karma

Hello, I'm about to start a small homestead on my parents' old plot of land in a subtropical region. I read a bit about food forest, i.e layering different plants to create a robust, low input food production ecosystem. What is your thought on this? Is food forest a viable scheme or basically a hipster thing, and is there any good scientific documents to back it up?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

I'd recommend you check out Hügelkultur. Seems like a great way to meet your needs

sssasenhora1 karma

For you what is the best book on plant physiology for learning? Writen in english.

AgDirtPerson1 karma

superbadonkey1 karma

How do plants "decide" where to sprout new shoots/leaves/ stalks from? Like an animal has a basic shape with a set amount of limbs and there placement, but plants appear to be randomly shaped.

AgDirtPerson2 karma

It may appear random, but as the earlier respondent implied, it follows a strict set of rules which may vary from cultivar to cultivar. Some cultivars of wheat are four leaf, five tiller; others are six leaf, three tiller. and so on. One must also consider that plants are growing in response to their environment and will adjust accordingly.

flyingquads1 karma

For a second there I read "plant psychology" and I immediately visioned someone talking to plants all day long asking them "and how does that make you feel?"

AgDirtPerson2 karma

They still are yet to open up which presumably has to do with intimacy issues caused by their mothers

Chrisbishyo1 karma

What do you think about cannabis cultivation from an AgSci perspective?

Have you done much research on lighting, spectrum, and how it effects morphology, etc?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

What do you think about cannabis cultivation from an AgSci perspective?

I personally don't smoke it, but I have a great number of friends who do. In terms of a fibre crop it is a great choice to beat cotton in terms of water and fert use, combined with it's short growing season. very interested!

Have you done much research on lighting, spectrum, and how it effects morphology, etc?

On cannabis? no

Have you done much research on lighting, spectrum, and how it effects morphology, etc?

Other crops? Yes! Crop density impacts the amount of new light vs second hand light any individual plant within the crop receives. Since they are different wavelengths, the second hand light triggers a plant to shoot upwards and elongate. In terms of crops like wheat this can have a deleterious effect on yield. Check out the red/far red ratio.

RollingKaiten1 karma

Howd you get to where you are? im in my 20s and i still dont know what i want but i want to learn about botany. Ive read alot about finding something you want to do and work backwards to where you are.

AgDirtPerson2 karma

I used to ride motorbikes a lot. On a motorbike, if you hesitate, you die. This translated into other aspects of my life. I just committed. Commit and deal with the consequences later if it doesn't work out.

Gopher2K161 karma

What are the ramifications of topsoil loss on plant growth and is there any research on increasing the “recharge rate” of organic matter?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

Invariably the topsoil contains more organic material than the subsoil, which: increases the supply and storage of nutrients to plants, urea, the cheapest and most common industrial nitrogen fertiliser, will not work without the presence of microbes; increases water holding capacity; provides a microenvironment for beneficial organisms; and decreases the tendency of a soil to lose structure and become compacted.

Without organic matter, either through losses via erosion or cultivation mixing the topsoil through the profile, it is a bit like the plant now has to germinate inside then grow a root through a soil which is like a house brick.

There is research on topsoil replacement, but since every environment has different conditions the research doesn't necessarily transfer well from one to another.

mugambokush1 karma

How can i add organic carbon to the soil with the most cost effective methods?

AgDirtPerson2 karma

To your lawn? Select the most deep rooted perennial species you can find.

To your pasture? Medicago sativa

To your cropping rotation? Consider pushing a vetch/cowpea green manure in your offseason.

mugambokush1 karma

Is composting of wood chips more beneficial or leaves? My thoughts being a tree puts more nutrients to grow the branches, more fibre content too.

AgDirtPerson1 karma

Depends on the tree, and if the leaves came from the tree. I recommend you check out Hugelkultur.

jwestmitchell1 karma

After studying ag science and gaining some job experience, do you see any new industry trends gaining traction? In the US I studied agriculture practices impact on honey bees for 3. The experience lended itself quite a perspective

AgDirtPerson1 karma

This is a very interesting question. I guess I would summarize my answer thus:

Year 2000 scientists: stop tilling the land so much, you're losing all your topsoil
Year 2000 farmers: no

Year2019 scientists: you guys should till strategically, you're making all these herbicide resistant weeds
Year 2019 farmers: no

I guess sometimes it takes a crisis to make a practice change...

tykez123-2 karma

Ok noob here is a question for your level. What’s is photosynthesis?

AgDirtPerson1 karma

The sum of two reactions: one of which is about taking water and splitting it; the other is about taking the energy gradient from sunlight and turning it into fun.