Opinion: Organic matters matter

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I read last week in the Island Farmer that, "current crop rotations are not enough to prevent the loss of soil organic matter." The PEI department of agriculture study goes on to state that farmers need to use more manure.

I wholeheartedly agree with these findings. Potato production per acre is going down. Soil is being lost by water and wind erosion. Soil would not be lost to erosion as badly on PEI if we had more numbers of vibrant beef, pork, dairy, and chicken farms. Animals use grain, hay and straw. Then they poop. This is good. The biodynamic properties of soil cannot properly function if you don't put as much nutrient back into the soil as you take out. It is also better to use rotation by products like grain here at home.

Organic matter does many things. It glues the soil together. It ties up carcinogens to keep them out of the food stream. It prevents compaction. It feeds the micro flora and enzymes that plants use naturally to grow in a healthy way.

This argument and others were made to the premier before he shut down the Garden Province Meat plant. He said there would be a trucking subsidy to get the pigs to Quebec. That is gone now too. I suggest he put it back on.

The province needs to foster and encourage livestock numbers to grow on PEI, or cap and reduce the acreage of potatoes grown. I would also suggest leaving the land limits in place. I think keeping farms over 3000 acres in manure would be impractical. I think the soil will run out soon. It will not be practical to keep the potato-processing sector going.

The general public should not buy out of province meat. This could save some soil.

Ranald MacFarlane

PEI

NFU member 

Geographic location: Quebec

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