Utilisation of effective microorganisms commercial organic agriculture: a case study from New Zealand
The effect of EM on onion and sheep production on a commercial organic farm are reported, and the problems of broad acre application of EM are discussed. A trial in 1995 compared EM with a range of organic fertilisers in onion production, EM gave the second highest yield which was significantly greater than the control. In addition EM gave the highest percentage of first grade onions. In 1996 1.3 ha of onion were intensively sprayed with EM from 6 weeks post emergence to 4 weeks before lifting. The crop yielded much higher than previous onion crops (53 tonnes/ha). However fungal diseases became a major problem in storage causing loss of 50 % of the crop. A potential loss of US $ 15,000. Could this loss have been averted by the application of EM over the entire growing period including seed treatment with EM ? The growth rates of sheep and lambs grazing on EM treated pasture and drinking water were compared in a separate trial. EM lambs had higher liveweight gains for the first three and last weighing and has a higher overall liveweight gain. There was no significant difference between the ewe liveweights. Internal parasite faecal egg numbers were lower in the EM treated lambs. The EM application recommendations for Asia-Pacific Natural Agricultural Network (APNAN) countries are difficult to implement in a New Zealand farming context. Alternative application methods are discussed including the use of tractor mounted spraying equipment applying between 200 L to 1000 L of water per hectare, irrigation applying 250,000 L to 300,000 L of water per hectare and the use of EM in livestock water systems.... [Show full abstract]
TypeConference Contribution - published (Conference Paper)
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