NZ Dairy Summer 2021

110 | nzdairy A biological balance Russell Fredric “Thriving biology in the soil allows long roots to establish, which in turn encourages biology to thrive.” Innovative company Total Replacement Therapy uses ground-breaking science to achieve outstanding results in farms systems with little or no synthetic nitrogen. Facilitator David Law says Total Replacement Therapy is a unique, process that is the result of a team of international specialists combining their expertise in soil biology, chemistry, agronomy and nutrition. Its team has worked tirelessly to closely analyse what makes a farm produce its own nitrogen, sequester carbon, and reduce methane and leaching. “We went against conventional science which insists the ideal soil pH is 5.8 to 6.0. We have found the ideal pH in which to curate a healthy soil, with prolific clover growth able to photosynthesise organic nitrogen, is 6.0 to 7.0. “The correct pH will encourage the natural synergy between biology and plant: thriving biology in the soil allows long roots to establish, which in turn encourages biology to thrive.” The Total Replacement Therapy method uses a comprehensive soil test and balance the farm’s soil to ensure the conditions are right for good biology to thrive. It then applies a biological activator as a catalyst which introduces and feeds the biology in the soil. “The result is growing great pasture with less synthetic nitrogen, as well as reducing methane and leaching, and increasing soil water holding capacity.” While there are synergies with organic and regenerative farming, Total Replacement Therapy follows eight specific steps to a biological system without loss of profit. Although initial steps involve the replacement of synthetic nitrogen, the system also targets the RURAL SERVICES » Total Replacement Therapy reduction of phosphate leaching and E.coli and sediment in waterways, while also assisting with climate challenges and overall enhancement of animal and human health. “The first step is to be aware of what causes clover to grow and what caused biology to grow and we focus on the step that get the farm to that as quickly as possible. We can change a farm to a biological system in 18 months.” “A lot of farms are so adapted to using nitrogen and they’ve got no idea how to change the system they are on.” Incredibly, the Total Replacement System can achieve one-metre-long ryegrass roots which, across a whole farm would mean nitrogen leaching coming to a stand-still, David says. It also focuses on significantly and sustainably increasing clover coverage and worm habitation in pastures. On farms currently using the system, clover coverage can increase up to 50% to 60% compared with typical coverage of up to 10% to 15% While farmers would normally be concerned about the occurrence of bloat with high clover cover, soil which has the correct balance of potassium and a higher, but correct level of calcium in the Total Replacement Therapy system, will mitigate this, David says. Farmers throughout New Zealand who are using the system are seeing the same extremely positive results, especially that their farms can not only survive, but thrive with “barely any [synthetic] nitrogen”. “There has been a lot of brilliant work done in New Zealand and overseas to meet the challenges ahead, but this progress is being slowed by a reluctance to think laterally about the solutions already on our doorstep. Initial steps involve the replacement of synthetic nitrogen and the system also targets the reduction of phosphate leaching and E.coli and sediment in waterways. Reduce synthetic nitrogen Mitigate leaching Maintain pasture, production and profit Total Replacement Therapy The groundbreaking, scientifically-supported regenerative farming method