Farmers looking for a way to restore their soil after years of growing the same crop might have found a hero in the slimy green stuff we all try to avoid.
BioFlora, a division of Global Organics Group recently announced that their GOGREEN SuperAlgae has been approved as an organic crop management tool and production aid able to provide soil structure benefits and nutrients for plants, and act as an irrigation system cleaning agent.
While most agricultural enhancement products aim to neutralize microorganisms and nutrients that exist naturally in the soil, GOGREEN BioGeneration products are designed to restore the organic nutrients that keep these indigenous soil microorganisms robust and produce dynamic and fertile soil.
Made from a proprietary blend of living green and yellow-green algae, and beneficial bacteria concentrated in a freshwater matrix, the SuperAlgae enhances the natural vegetation-based remediation systems, like phytostabilization, phytotransformation and phytostimulation. These processes are are instrumental in maintaining a natural ecosystem for plants, and have been missing in the world of agriculture for many years, due to lack of proper soil conditioning.
Monoculture (the practice of cultivating only one crop at a time) may have temporary economic advantages for farmers, and evaluations based solely on yield may show its superiority, but, genetic concerns aside, it is not an agronomic optimum because it tends to produce soil erosion and intensify weed and insect problems.
Soils are more prone to nutrient deficiencies as high-yielding varieties direct more growth to grain. These nutrients are harvested from the land with the grain and less plant material is being left for recycling nutrients back to the soil. Also, industrial agriculture’s practice of high-yielding monoculture does not make use of nitrogen fixing plants and will likely use high amounts of nitrogen-based fertilizer (Knol).
Although the company claims their SuperAlgae is "100 percent natural," some characteristics seem to indicate it's not entirely benign. For instance, the product page on the GOGREEN website warns that "protective gloves and eye protection" are recommended when handling the product, and that it should be "kept away from children."
While these same warnings would be applicable if handling manure from grassfed cows, it's cause for concern when a product is being sold in 55-gallon drums and sprayed on crops intended for human consumption.
Studies confirm that microflora like algae and bacteria restore the balance of pH in the soil by excreting metabolites (acidic and basic) in order to facilitate better absorption of mineral nutrients by the plants. Though some continue to debate the legitimacy of algae as a biofuels crop, it's possible that they could be put to use on farms with depleted soil.
However, its essential that both the public and the farmers do their own research about these "proprietary blends" to make sure that there won't be unintended environmental consequences down the road.
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