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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.

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!

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/

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.

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.