Getting back to the roots of agriculture
exciting new developments growing in the field of agriculture. The
practice of feeding your plants soluble nutrients is
starting to change.
In North America, the use of soluble NPK fertilizers is on the decline,
as a result of environmental concerns, soil degradation and excessive
soil nutrients, especially phosphorous.
The leading edge is moving towards a
systems approach – looking at the way minerals,
soil, plants and microbes all interact to maximize
your yields, nutrient content and plant health.
In nature, nutrients originate from the geology of your land. It's
the microbial interactions with rock minerals that provide soluble nutrients
to your plants. But
in many agricultural lands, the elements and catalysts that these interactions
need may be in very short supply.
Conventional plant nutrients
So one of the keys to making your soil system work productively is to
give it a wide spectrum of
nutrients and catalysts. And to provide those elements in a way
that is non-toxic to your soil microbiology.
The systems approach to agriculture supports the complexity of
your soil ecology. It does this by remineralizing your soil with
a full spectrum
of trace elements, micronutrients and rare earths...
by making the transition from soluble nutrients to reactive minerals.
With the help of dozens of farmers and horticulturists, we've done
an extended evaluation of this approach, by remineralizing over 30,000
acres of land. And
we've had some amazing results.
To feed your plants, feed your soil
In all of the soil tests that we've done on agricultural lands,
we've found that many of them were even short of some macronutrients. This
severely affects the health and nutrient content of foods or forage crops
that are grown there.
For example, calcium is cited more often
than any other mineral as a cause
of plant diseases, low nutrient quality and poor storability. It's
the mineral that plants use most, by weight, of any
element – yet it's often treated as a secondary nutrient.
Agriculture is an acidifying process, and subsoil compaction, nitrogen
fertilizer and acid rain have resulted in calcium depletion in many topsoils. So
it's vital that you make sure that your plants are getting enough of
calcium is just one of
the many elements that your soil needs to stay healthy
So how can you replenish your soil with a wide spectrum of elements,
in a reactive mineral form, without spending a fortune?
It's what nature has been doing for millions of years. And
it's probably the least expensive technique
you can use to manage your soil fertility.
It works by building your soil complexity. The more biodiverse
your soil is, the better it can maintain the requirements for strong
plant growth, and the more it supports biological
your soil minerals.
It's these interactions that result in
- particle aggregation,
- nitrogen fixation,
- nutrient supply,
- formation of essential soil clays,
- organic matter...
...in short, all of
the factors that make for ideal growing conditions. And
agrominerals have many other benefits as well.
Nutrients on demand
There are all kinds of complex interactions in your soil, a
few of which are just starting to be understood. But one thing
is clear: having a healthy soil ecology is the ideal
way to feed your plants with nutrients on demand.
Agrominerals are insoluble until they get eaten by the microbes in
your soil. This means that adding agrominerals creates a self-regulating
system that gives your plants the nutrients they
need, when they need them.
As micro-organisms weather your rocks to form soil, minerals become
available to your plants. And the plants actually feed the microbes
that supply their roots with dissolved minerals – just as
our own digestive systems use beneficial bacteria to help break down
This is the symbiosis that's been working in nature for as long as plants
have existed on the planet. There's no over-supply, no toxicity,
and no agricultural runoff...
...and there's a lot less expense.
The agrominerals that aren't used will stay in your soil until
they're needed by the system. So a single application of
agrominerals can keep providing nutrients for years.
Within only a few months, most soils can be brought back to biological
feeding your micro-organisms is enough – they will do everything
that's needed to get the process going. And
once you start using agrominerals, you won't need
to use any soluble fertilizers ever again.
Now consider that remineralizing your soil will probably cost less than
a single application of fertilizer...
...and it's starting to look pretty good, don't you
The ABC's of NPK
The mainstays of soluble fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorus and
potassium – that's what NPK numbers like
10 - 20 - 10 refer
to. And there's
no question that these three basic elements are vitally important to
your plants. So
can agrominerals deliver them
Yes and no.
There are three minerals that are excellent sources of almost all the
nutrients that your soil needs, including phosphorus and potassium.
And in combination with the right organic matter, these conditioners
will give your soil a complete spectrum of nutrients,
including nitrogen. They'll provide abundant NPK, and they'll
give you all the benefits of ecological complexity as well.
Depending on your soil, these are the three minerals you're most likely
- Apatite. Commonly called rock phosphate, apatite
is a great source of phosphorus. It has a similar
chemical structure to our bones and teeth, but in soil it can be
much more reactive than bonemeal. Apatite
looks a lot like limestone, and its molecular composition is a phosphate
of calcium with fluorine,
- Biotite. This mineral belongs
to the mica family, contains 12% potassium, and often carries many
trace elements as well. In your soil, biotite weathers to vermiculite,
which in itself is a superb soil conditioner. Chemically,
biotite is a hydrous potassium aluminium silicate,
- Calcite. Replenishing the calcium content
of your soil can greatly improve your plants' nutrient value, storability
and frost resistance. Calcite also neutralizes pH, prevents
clay aging, eliminates toxicity problems, and improves soil tilth,
among other benefits. Calcite is a form of calcium carbonate,
Each of the ABC agrominerals is low-cost, easy to apply, and is completely
non-toxic to your soil's microbes. And together, they make an amazing
soil conditioner that can give you healthy growth like nothing you've ever
Within two months of remineralizing your soil, it will have a blooming
micro-ecosystem, and a nutrient reservoir that can completely
eliminate the need for soluble NPK fertilizers.
The key is finding the right type of minerals and organic
matter, so that they can most easily be absorbed by your soil system.
Put some agrominerals into your soil, and they'll still
be sitting there in a few centuries. They just
can't be digested by the soil micro-organisms.
Other agrominerals get eaten up almost instantly. So what sets
They differ in reactivity.
The more reactive an agromineral is, the more easily it can be used
by your soil's ecosystem, and the more nutrients it can provide to
your plants. There are a number of factors that affect mineral
- Mineral genesis – the process that
forms a rock, and its mineral constituents, have a direct bearing
on how quickly it will weather and give up its essential nutrients.
- Mineralogy and crystal habit – the
physical properties of a rock, including crystal structure, hardness,
cleavage, fracturing diagnostics, gravity, and trace catalytic elements.
- Microbial influences – microorganisms,
directly or indirectly, will cause mineral weathering that
is tens or hundreds of times faster than the mineral can dissolve
on its own.
Consider calcium again. Dolomite lime is high in calcium, but its
reactivity is very low – in fact, it's practically inert.
If you add it to your earth, it might help the soil structure a little,
but it won't give any nutrients to your soil.
High-calcium limestone is more reactive than dolomite, and when powdered
to micron size it can make a decent soil conditioner. But a
micron-sized rock is still the size of a house to most microbes,
so their ability to break it down is somewhat limited. And powdering
the rock makes it more expensive.
The most reactive form of mineral calcium that we
know of is the calcite found in Spanish River Carbonatite.™ It
has a nanocrystalline structure, so the particles are roughly a thousandth
of the size of micron powdered limestone. It gets taken up by
soil ecosystems faster than any other calcite we've tested — it's
like pet food for your microbes.
But calcium isn't the only element in
remineralizing your earth...
The truth about phosphorus
Most soils, especially if they've had fertilizer added to them in the
past, are loaded with phosphorus. It just isn't
available to your plants unless you have a healthy soil ecology.
On average, if you were to add super-phosphate to your soil, only about
10% of the phosphorus would be taken up by your plants. The rest
gets locked up in an insoluble form, or leached into the groundwater.
And did you know that most phosphate fertilizer starts off as apatite?
It gets treated with sulphuric acid to make phosphoric acid, which is
water-soluble. But it's pretty toxic to your soil micro-organisms,
not to mention that it adds to the problems of soil acidification and
On the other hand, if you support your soil ecology with agrominerals,
your microbes will be able to liberate the phosphorus that is already
there, locked up in the ground.
And adding apatite will also give your soil an excellent
source of on-demand phosphorus, that's totally non-toxic to your micro-organisms
and doesn't wash away in the rain.
But there is one thing to watch out for in rock phosphates –
toxic elements. Many rock phosphates available on the market today
include significant levels of heavy metals and radioactive isotopes, including
cadmium, thorium and uranium.
Spanish River Carbonatite™ is rich in apatite and free of any
heavy metals or radioactivity. And it supports your soil ecology
to release the insoluble phosphorus that's already there. It's
the best and most economical way to balance your soil nutrients!
And there are also other factors that affect your soil's fertility...
The age of your clay
Young soils are generally much more productive than old soils.
If you look at volcanic regions, where the soil is practically brand-new,
they have some of the most lush growth on the planet. And
the young glacial soils in Canada are recognized as some
of the most fertile soils in existence.
One of the main reasons soils age is that the clay loses its cation
exchange capacity (CEC). This means that the clay can't
interact as well with the nutrient molecules within your soil, so it has
less ability to transport food, and the soil becomes less fertile.
If your mineral nutrients are out of balance, it can speed up the
aging process of your clay. Having old, weathered clay soil
as well as mineral deficiencies will make your plants even more dependent
on inputs. And it can result in aluminum toxicity, in which aluminum
ions have a higher affinity for the remaining cation exchange sites,
and get taken up into your plants.
But the aging process can be reversed, and your soil's CEC raised
back to productive levels. The first step is to remineralize
your soil, which will help free up the cation exchange sites. You
can also add high-CEC clay minerals and organic matter, both of which
will increase its nutrient capacity.
For example, if you have a weathered soil, it is probably composed of
a kaolinite clay, which has a CEC of about 10 meq/100g.
Adding biotite to your soil not only provides potassium
on demand, but it also produces a mineral clay with a CEC of 180 meq/100g.
The only economical source of clean biotite in North
America is in Spanish River Carbonatite.™ It's a much better
natural source of potassium and high-CEC clay than greensand. Plus
it's more reactive, and makes a better soil conditioner as well.
And there's still a lot more to the Spanish River Carbonatite™
A unique natural rock
When we first went looking for agricultural minerals, the carbonatite
family piqued our interest. Carbonatites are alkaline
igneous rocks that form from molten magma or volcanic
lava, and they're typically very rich in minerals, especially
Unfortunately from an agricultural point of view, most carbonatites also
contain a lot of heavy metals and radioactive elements.
So we went looking for a source that was free of toxicity and radioactivity,
was highly reactive, and had a good variety of nutrient minerals.
We got everything we were looking for and much more.
It turns out that, of all the igneous rocks on the planet, only about
0.1% of them are alkaline. And only 0.001% of alkaline rocks are
carbonatites. In fact, there are only 330 known occurrences of carbonatite
in the world...
...and only one of them is free of
radioactivity and heavy metals.
It's just beside the Spanish River, near Sudbury, Ontario.
The perfect soil conditioner
Spanish River Carbonatite™ deposit is almost miraculous –
it seems to have been made for adding to soil.
It is the most effective agromineral, by far, of any that we've tested.
It has a perfect blend of clean, highly-reactive minerals for soil remediation,
including the ABC minerals: apatite, biotite and calcite.
And it contains over 80 trace elements and micronutrients –
everything needed for life!
It's also nanocrystalline, and separates naturally into sand-sized particles
without any crushing. This makes it very easy to apply, and it stays
free-flowing and non-clumping even if it gets wet.
The mixture of minerals varies in different parts of the Spanish River
Carbonatite™ deposit, so we create a blend with an average composition
- 68% igneous calcite – a unique form
of calcium carbonate, which is more reactive than any other form
of agricultural lime. It buffers
acid soils and is an outstanding source of calcium.
- 10% apatite – a clean rock phosphate
that provides calcium and phosphorous on demand.
- 15% biotite mica – an excellent
source of potassium, and the parent mineral of vermiculite,
which in itself is an
important high-CEC clay mineral and soil amendment, widely used in
- 7% accessory minerals and trace elements, such as magnetite
and pyroxene, and rich in lime, iron, silica and magnesia.
And it works!
In case you're wondering if this is all just theory...
So far, over 13,000 metric tonnes of Spanish River Carbonatite™
have been applied to more than 30,000 acres of farmland.
And the results are absolutely phenomenal.
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