06 Dec BAYS LEAP DAIRY FARM applies REMIN
CHANNEL 4 FOOD UNWRAPPED – Series 17, Episode 1
We were all delighted when, following Chris McDonalds application of REMIN in 2018, as described below, Jimmy Doherty of Channel 4, Food Unwrapped series decided to visit Chris McDonald at Bays Leap to find out what he had been up to. If you scroll 18.15 minutes into the video link you will hear James Wong starts by telling us “Soil is the foundation for growing good crops”. It rolls onto the then Environmental Secretary, Michael Gove MP, telling us we are only “30 to 40 years away from eradicating our soil fertility”.
Jimmy D then does an excellent piece with Soil Scientist, Professor Jonathan Leake of Sheffield University comparing soil condition in a wood with the adjacent intensively farmed field. They go on to visit a lab where we find the soil in the wood has 3.99% carbon and the soil in the field has less than half at 1.84%. Prof Leake also tells us that the UK is “losing £1.2 billion from the economy each year due to soil degradation”. THEN Jimmy goes on to meet Chris at Bay Leap Farm. Chris tells Jimmy he is adding the rock dust “to get the full spectrum of major and minor minerals back into the soil”. Let’s back Chris up here and refer to Sir David Attenborough’s fabulous new series “A Perfect Planet” and remember in the very first edition on “Volcanoes” the great man tells us “Volcanoes fertilise the planet”. There is plenty more to be found out about this on this “Remineralize the Earth” website.
Food Unwrapped graphics then explain how the rock dust boosts the micro-organisms in the soil, thus capturing carbon as, like ourselves, they are partly made up of carbon. You can find out more about the critical MINERAL / MICROBES partnership by visiting the “Soil Food Web” website. What is not included here is the subsequent findings about the carbon capture by REMIN itself. Via ERW – enhanced rock weathering, REMIN actually captures the carbon and anchors some of it in the soil for thousands of years as calcite whilst some of the captured carbon is deposited into the ground water. You can find more about this by visiting our “Welcome ERW” news item. So, to conclude this episode of Food Unwrapped, Chris and Jimmy both agree soil remineralisation with rock dust “rocks”. The question is…do they know just how right they are?!
Chris McDonald of Bays Leap Dairy Farm near Newcastle is not afraid to try out new ideas with his success with the Roundhouses for their cattle being a good example of this. With Bays Leap going through organic conversion with Organic Farmers and Growers certifying authority, Chris learned about REMIN volcanic rock dust as one of the soil improvers OF&G approve for certified soil . “It makes sense.” states Chris McDonald, “Each year our cows eat the pasture, and even with spreading of farm yard manure, we only put back a small amount of the minerals taken out by the grass so the soil is bound to be getting short of the rarer minerals as there is not an endless supply. REMIN contains the full profile of Minerals and Trace elements that as well as boosting the plants will also boost the soils living organisms to do their important job in the soil.” Chris uses a Refractomer, supplied as one of the free educational gifts with bulk REMIN to assess the Brix Reading of his pasture.
At its most basic a Brix reading is a measure of the density of the sap of the tissue of the plant and this is thought to be directly correlated to the sugar and mineral content of the plant. One of the best explanations I have found is on the Bionutrient Food Association website and this shows us a very useful chart for which to compare our refractometer readings.