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Science "discovers" legumes  RSS feed

 
duane hennon
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now some science to back claims for nitrogen fixers


http://phys.org/news/2014-12-legume-potential-sandy-soils-productive.html

Legume has potential to turn sandy soils into productive land
Dec 19, 2014 by Hayley Mayne


After a decade of research, scientists from Murdoch University are excited by a perennial legume that has the potential to turn poor soils into profitable areas suitable for farming.


Professor John Howieson from the Centre of Rhizobium Studies at Murdoch University said scientists had been searching for a something to treat deep sandy soils for 20 years and that Lebeckia, a shrub legume, has had the most exciting results to date.

.............

"Our research has shown that Lebeckia improves carbon content, phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium nutrition and soil fertility to the point where it can be much more profitable for cropping or grazing enterprises," Professor Howieson said.

"Our discovery is significant. We believe it has the potential to turn one million hectares of land in Western Australia and also New South Wales into usable farming land."

Lebeckia is a herbaceous plant which is woody below the soil and research has shown it has a number of benefits.
 
Jason Silberschneider
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I was actually reading that article today in the local news, as the Wheatbelt trial area is where I am. To the researchers, Lebeckia is just another stock feed that can go just that little bit further into unusable soils than existing legumes such as lupin or lucerne.

So they'll now put all their eggs into the Lebeckia basket until the soil is degraded for even that to work. Mob grazing techniques aren't even on their radar.

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Just another example of how academia limits the thinking process of scientist. We are taught that the only way to do experimentation is to limit the variables to one then perform all the different stages of experimentation on that one variable. Unfortunately, when we are trying to study and learn from mother nature, the rule of scientific experimentation does not fare well. In nature, our earth mother deals with multiple variables, each one contributing to the end result. It is only when we stop limiting our investigations to the single variable model that we find out what works best for any one situation.

Mob grazing is a perfect example, as is using 10-20 different species to plant a pasture for grazing. This planet has developed symbiotic systems that mono cultures simply can not out perform. It will be many more years before science catches on to this idea and realizes that it is one of the earth truths.
 
Marvin Cans
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Legumes have long been recognized and valued as "soil building" crops. Growing legumes improves soil quality through their beneficial effects on soil biological, chemical and physical conditions. When properly managed, legumes will:
- enhance the N-supplying power of soils
- increase the soil reserves of organic matter
- stimulate soil biological activity
- improve soil structure
- reduce soil erosion by wind and water
- increase soil aeration
- improve soil water-holding capacity
- make the soil easier to till
 
Bill Crim
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Just another example of how academia limits the thinking process of scientist. We are taught that the only way to do experimentation is to limit the variables to one then perform all the different stages of experimentation on that one variable. Unfortunately, when we are trying to study and learn from mother nature, the rule of scientific experimentation does not fare well. In nature, our earth mother deals with multiple variables, each one contributing to the end result. It is only when we stop limiting our investigations to the single variable model that we find out what works best for any one situation.

Mob grazing is a perfect example, as is using 10-20 different species to plant a pasture for grazing. This planet has developed symbiotic systems that mono cultures simply can not out perform. It will be many more years before science catches on to this idea and realizes that it is one of the earth truths.


"Professor John Howieson from the Centre of Rhizobium Studies at Murdoch University" His specialty is studying nitrogen fixing plants/bacteria.

The group in question has spent 20 years researching many plants to recover soils. This particular story is about one of their candidates(Lebekia), which is a perennial herbaceous legume shrub. This shrub provides winter forage for sheep, has deep woody roots to hold the soil, and produces nitrogen to allow the growing of barley and ryegrass mixed within it. Their test-plot is trying to determine the depth and spacing parameters of growing it.

I don't understand how your objection applies in this case.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I was not objecting to this research, I was stating how science works. An experiment must be set up to a singular variable, that is scientific method, which is the reason that it takes 20 years to come to conclusions that might have been arrived at by simple observation in the field by a layman. Mob grazing has been around for thousands of years, it is how the Bison of North America lived and survived until they were wiped out in an effort to starve North American Indians so "America" could take over the lands they occupied.

I have great respect for Professor Howieson and his work, just as I have great respect for all agronomist. I've been in the Agricultural field since 1972, promoting the use of polyculture, and the other nature based methods such as No-Till, to improve soil health and crop growth via use of multiple, complementary cover cropping and rotational grazing by ruminants to rejuvenate depleated soils. Professor Howieson, my self and many others are working towards a better world, one soil type at a time.

 
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