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Small lesson in agronomy (2/2)

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The first scientist who will be interested in the clay-humic complex is Darwin. Darwin will be the first to give a scale of human remains, because if you make profiles you will see that the cut stones are found in depth, then the Roman mosaics, then the remains of the Middle Ages. It is not because the men of the cut stone lived underground, they lived like us on the surface, but it is the earthworms which buried all the human remains. That’s why archaeologists spend their time digging holes, it’s the fault of earthworms. And in fact Darwin has a very good idea, he measured the amount of earth: an earthworm rejects its weight of earth every day. He simply calculated the distances between the human remains and realized that it was much older than what was said. At the time the bible dated back 5000 years to the creation of humanity; so Mr. Darwin was very careful not to have religion on the suspenders, but he showed that it was much older than we thought. If you put a Japanese step in your garden, for example, you will see that your Japanese step will disappear: earthworms which will gradually bury it. Often when I am in the field with the farmers, they tell me: “Oh my, my stones are coming up. I explain to them that the heavy flight of stones in the plain does not exist. The pebbles never rise, it is always the earth that leaves.

So how did we manage to kill our soils? We violated its fundamental laws. You can violate human laws, if you get caught by the police you will go to jail, but it’s not very serious for all of humanity. But when we violate the universal laws, the laws of biology, there it is very serious. So how did we kill the soil? Two weapons of mass destruction of soil have been invented.

First the plow. At first the men scratched the ground with horses; It was not a big deal, but when we discovered the tractor, you know, it was like when Victor Hugo said to show the fascination of men in front of big machines: “An immense force which leads to an immense weakness, here is what which fascinates men. The guys bandage like crazy in front of a big tractor of 300 horses. They can do more, so they screw up the soil by turning it over and they put the organic matter at the bottom. This is the first mistake because all the mushrooms in the world are aerobic. There are no anaerobic fungi on earth. All the peasants who have had the opportunity to plant a stake in the ground know this when they take out the stake: the tip of the stake is intact and the stake is completely gnawed on the first few centimeters. Fortunately for the city of Venice which rests on wooden pillars. These wooden pillars are anaerobically underwater and no fungus can collapse them, that’s why the city is always there. So when you put straw in the ground you don’t make any more humus. This is why we arrive at this very surprising system: when the ancients made about 2 tonnes of straw in France, in 1900, they had 4% organic matter. Now we make 5 to 6 tonnes of straw on average across the country, but we only have 1.6% organic matter across the country. These wooden pillars are anaerobically underwater and no fungus can collapse them, that’s why the city is always there. So when you put straw in the ground you don’t make any more humus. This is why we arrive at this very surprising system: when the ancients made about 2 tonnes of straw in France, in 1900, they had 4% organic matter. Now we make 5 to 6 tonnes of straw on average across the country, but we only have 1.6% organic matter across the country. These wooden pillars are anaerobically underwater and no fungus can collapse them, that’s why the city is always there. So when you put straw in the ground you don’t make any more humus. This is why we arrive at this very surprising system: when the ancients made about 2 tonnes of straw in France, in 1900, they had 4% organic matter. Now we make 5 to 6 tonnes of straw on average across the country, but we only have 1.6% organic matter across the country. when the ancients made about 2 tonnes of straw in France, in 1900, they had 4% organic matter. Now we make 5 to 6 tonnes of straw on average across the country, but we only have 1.6% organic matter across the country. when the ancients made about 2 tonnes of straw in France, in 1900, they had 4% organic matter. Now we make 5 to 6 tonnes of straw on average across the country, but we only have 1.6% organic matter across the country.

We have halved our organic matter, while we have multiplied the straws by 2. Why ? Because we bury them. From the moment you bury them it’s over, you will never make humus again. So first mistake: burial of organic matter. And the people I see putting compost before planting a tree are making a fundamental mistake against universal laws.

Second error, we bring chemical fertilizers. What do chemical fertilizers do? They stimulate bacteria. However bacteria are mineralizing: they do not make humus, they mineralize. Bacteria multiply 20 times faster than fungi. So what happens when you put chemical fertilizers? You accelerate the mineralization of organic matter. When the organic matter falls too low, the fauna disappears because it feeds on this organic matter. In a country like France, we went from 2 tonnes of earthworms per hectare, in 1950, to less than 100 kilos! What happens when there are no more earthworms? I explained to you that earthworms go up every day from the earth. They rise from potash, phosphorus, magnesia, calcium. If the worms no longer go up, the elements will go down: pollution of the aquifers, pollution of the rivers. After this biological degradation of the soil, you enter what is called chemical degradation. Your land will lose its nutrients. You are going to send nitrogen into the aquifers, you are going to send phosphorus into the rivers, etc. You deplete your soils.

Now when the level of organic matter has fallen too low, and you have mineralized fundamental ions which attach clays and humus like iron, calcium etc., well the clay is no longer attached, the clay is go, the rivers become charged with mud as soon as it rains, it is the last death, which is called the physical death of the soil: your soil goes to the sea.

This is how you ruin a floor. I have been working with farmers since 1989, people in Beauce who were very proud to be part of the 100 quintals club. They rolled boxes at the time because they had wheat which in genetics was 110 quintal wheat, so they almost made their genetic yield. Now they have wheat at 150 quintals and the same farmers only make 90 quintals… That is to say that they have Ferraris, they drive on dirt roads. It is not worth having a Ferrari if it is to drive on a dirt road, it is better to have a 2 horses. They can tell anything they want, they no longer value the genetics of their plants. And yet we know that this genetics is valid since recently an experiment in New Zealand we found that on a soil that had never been plowed, never touched, and they made 162 quintals in direct sowing, and 152 quintals in plowing . So it shows that the genetic potential is very real, but our soils are on their knees.

So what does it mean to “make agriculture sustainable”? It is to recognize that the propaganda of multinationals is propaganda and not science. We will have to put science back into agriculture. But agriculture has had no science for 50 years, it has only technology, it has only chemicals, they only have big machines, that is to say that it runs agro-industrial business and enriching agro-industry, but that it is not there to feed people. Now, with 7 billion people, we will have to decide to feed people. And we now have 1 billion people who suffer from starvation: so the “green revolution” is a total failure. The problem is that this profit-obsessed society doesn’t want to admit its wrongs,

So we will have to completely change our agriculture, I will have to dissolve companies like Monsanto, Novartis and company, who are murderers. We will have to create a kind of international justice on crimes against life, because these people are criminals against life, they killed! The biological activity of soils, which I have been measuring since 1989, continues to decline. And when I compare with the figures from the beginning of 1900, we have lost about 90% of our biological activity. Especially the big missing is the mushrooms, completely gone with chemical fertilizers. Now it is they who make the humus. Since there are no more mushrooms, the soil is really very bad.

Earlier you were talking about the BRF. Why does the BRF have such a spectacular effect on the revival of soil life? Is that it brings lignin. It gives back this substance that only mushrooms are able to attack and you go up the C / N ratio, the carbon / nitrogen ratio.

Agriculture does not need nitrogen: it needs carbon. That’s what agronomists still haven’t understood. As agronomists know nothing about the life of soils, the chair of soil microbiology at Agro was closed in 1986 … There you have before you a living fossil, okay? Soil microbiologists are making more in France. The 150 agros who come out of the box, they know nothing about microbial cycles, it’s still mind-blowing. They do not know how to distinguish a basidiomycete, from a bacterium, from an actinomycete, they do not know that their roles are completely different.

If we want to restore life to the soil, we will have to stop inventing artificial models, such as the green revolution, and give the Nobel Prize to a guy who ruined 300 million hectares of soil with its green revolution. That’s not the goal, the goal is to put science back so that we can once again look at the soil as it is; because the only big book is nature; it’s not behind a computer that you discover how a floor works, it’s by making holes! With Lydia we made more than 12,000 of them across the planet from the altiplano (highland) of the Andes via Norwegian soils and soils from America and Borneo. Soils we know how it is because we open them, and we look at the fauna, we look at the roots. This is more than what agronomists do …

Well, thank you for your attention.

Question: on what depth to work the soils?

Answer: not return them at all. There are direct seeders, seeding wheels, … Green manure before cultivation, crush it with a Faca roller at the front, without burying it above all, and sow with a seed wheel at the rear.

Question: For the potato?

Answer: Spread them with a rake on the surface, cover them with 20cm of straw, like the Bolivian peasants do. Use it when you need it …

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