Ronald Nigh wrote:
> >Long-story-short: this mineral nutrient stuff matters a whole bunch for
> >both the quality and the nutritive value of foods and feeds. That the
> >overwhelming majority of organic farmers don't 'get' this any better
> >than their conventional colleagues is a continuing tragedy approaching
> >the point of having completely squandered a remarkable opportunity.
> Dear Bart,
> You are correct that mineral nutrition is the critical dimension of quality
> in foods--in terms of health implications, in terms of flavor and in terms
> of storing. It is also the critical variable for pest and disease control
> in the field and post harvest. The data presented by Steve Driver are the
> first I have ever seen (it is not clear what they mean, however -29.82% of
> what?) that compare organic and conventional in terms of mineral content.
> However, it is mineral proportions that we should have. Ratios like Fe:Zn,
> Cu:Mo or Ca:Mg:P can tell us a lot more about what is going on than
> absolute amounts. (e.g the same absolute amount of Mo can be optimal or too
> low, depending on how much Cu there is, etc.)
> But how do you explain this situation? It is virtually impossible to grow
> organic vegetables, grains or fruits (not to mention animals) without
> adequate mineral and micronutrient management, as you would be the first to
> know. Are you really so sure that organic farmers's in the US have
> neglected this aspect so completely? How could they and still produce
> commercially? How could mineral nutrient management be worse today than a
> decade ago? It doesn't seem possible. It is not possible to grow
> organically without adequate mineral management. Could you please explain
> this situation further. Until I read your posts I would have bet anything
> that organic products would have a more optimal mineral profile. Perhaps
> they do, has anyone really looked at it?
> Yesterday you criticized organic farmers for not doing soil tests to
> determine mineral status. Conventional soil tests don't give us much
> information on mineral status (o its nice ot know pH and OM). P soil tests
> are very misleading--we have lots of P in some soils here but the plants
> can be showing clear P deficiency. We have found trace analysis of seeds or
> plant tissue to be more indicative of what is going on. But these are
> expensive and so we try to go more on what the state of the plants and the
> kinds of 'weeds', insects, fungi, algas etc. we find can tell us. I would
> rather have a test of biological activity of the kind Elaine Ingham offers
> than a mineral test of the soil.
> What tests would you recommend? In general, what would you recommend as the
> basics of organic mineral nutrition program for grains (corn)? for fruits?
> I agree with you that this aspect is very important and many people are
> unaware of it--but succesful organic farmers? They must deal with it somehow.
> Thank you
> Ronald Nigh
> Dana, A.C.
> Mexico, D.F. & San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
> Tel. y FAX 525-666-73-66 (DF)
> 529-678-72-15 (Chiapas)
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