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‘Living soil’ for better plants

Focusing on what is put in the soil can help improve the quality of the plants, animals and environment, Respond founder Dugald Hamilton says.

Mr Hamilton presented during the final day of TechWeek 2021 here in Tairawhiti, where he spoke about work being done to change the way food is grown via his internationally-patented soil enhancement product.

“Respond is a response to the issues we are facing with growing food with chemical fertilisers.”

Mr Hamilton said his purpose for the past 40 years had been to change the way food is grown.

“We want to remove chemicals as much as we possibly can in the growing process, to better improve the quality of the food, environment and plants,” he said.

“I believe we take the ground we walk on for granted. It is a rooftop to another dimension — there is millions if not billions of life within it. A teaspoon of soil holds a million living bacteria in it.

“We need to give the land in front of us a lot more care and respect.”

More focus needed to be put on the soil that plants and animals lived off.

“Soil is responsible for about everything we do in our lives. It cleans and nourishes everything that lives upon it. We need to do better with the soil.

“Living soil creates better platform for plants and animals to live off. The better the platform, the better the outcome.”

Every plant had a different fungi and bacterial requirement.

“By perfectly balancing them together, the plant has more living assistance to produce and contain more micro-nutrients and minerals. With unabated soil production, plants can produce for longer. With mixed pastures, like our Fonterra trials, we have 24 different species and at least three to four of these are heavily producing at any one time.

“Eating a more nutritious and plentiful food source, produced by biologically-assisted plants, the animal gets better nutritional levels, producing better live weight gain, milk production, wool production, etc.

“Less chemicals in the soil grows healthier stock. Stock numbers increase to keep pasture under control. The animals receiving a smorgasbord of dense nutrition fatten faster in a shorter time,” Mr Hamilton said.

Trials carried out around the country have had great results, he said.

More weight gain on stock, less chemicals used, the land regenerated itself and the farmers and growers were pleased with the results.

Mr Hamilton also said farmers were happy to be working in this new regenerative space.

“They are not resisting it but rather becoming more interested in new directions.

“There are far more options and opportunity for growing higher value products, including health benefits and improvement to the nationwide image.”

Dugald Hamilton
LIFE: Millions of bacteria live underneath the ground but getting them to grow can be difficult . . . these pictures show examples of life within the soil growing thanks to the Respond product, which uses fungi and bacteria to refresh the soil and aid in the growing process for plants. Both photos were taken at the Lain brothers' Whangara Angus farm. Pictures supplied
LIFE: Millions of bacteria live underneath the ground but getting it to grow can be difficult, this is an example of life within the soil growing thanks to the Respond product. This was at the Lain Brothers Whangara Angus farm. Picture supplied