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TOPIC: Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil?

Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 05:26 #1

  • novum
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PHOTO: Rain clouds gather over pasture. NSW Beef producer Glen Morris has researched the links between humus in the soil, which can be improved by grazing, and rainfall. - David Claughton

Can farmers make it rain?

It's a tantalising question that one farmer has been researching and scientists have been exploring.

Glenn Morris is passionate about humus and believes what you do to the soil on your farm, can affect the rain.

"The humus is the home for the biology, and recent scientific reports coming out of the United States (see post below) are saying that the biology actually increases up to 160 per cent in the first five minutes following rain, so it's actually an ice-nucleating agent for forming rain," he said.

"We're basically talking about biological cloud seeding."

Mr Morris, an organic beef producer in northern NSW, won a Landcare award last year.

He did his Masters thesis on the link between humus in the soil, the release of rain-forming plant pathogens and how both those things can help to rehydrate the landscape.

A decade ago he was managing a property that was unusually dry.

"The water cycle was breaking down, not so much due to a lack of weather systems coming through, but the fact there was no moisture being held in the system," he said.

"The soil had lost its ability to hold the water and that was due to a lack of organic matter and humus.

"I did a Masters on that subject and tried to quantify how much water we could hold in the landscape by increasing humus."

It took Mr Morris two years to get a number.

"The figures were basically a 1:4 relationship, which equated to every one per cent humus we could increase in the landscape, we could hold an extra 160,000 litres of water."

Mr Morris says grazing management is the way to increase humus in the soil.

"Manage your pasture so that it has the optimum chance to rest, just before the late maturity phase and just before seeding.

"They've got their energy requirement [by then], so they really start dumping sugars into the root zone [and] that's when you start to get really good humus gains."

Grazing cattle is also important, because it allows the organic matter to be broken down into a density that makes a difference.

Mr Morris believes that if farmers band together to increase soil humus, they could effectively seed the clouds and make it rain.

"It's a big call to say that you can make a difference just over your property, but at a regional level, if a few farmers come on board, you are actually cloud seeding."

So is it true? Can farmers band together and attract rain to their farms?

Dr Lachlan Ingram from the University of Sydney is based in Cooma in southern NSW and has also been researching soil organic matter and water holding capacity.

He confirms there is definitely a relationship between humus and the water that soil can hold and also that plants release spores which become nuclei for rain.

But can farmers make it rain by increasing the humus in their soils? Dr Ingram says probably not.

"It's part of a larger process," he said,

"We know that clouds and raindrops form as a result of these small aerosols or nuclei which water binds to, and we know that spores are a really critical part of that.

But, he says, high winds at high altitudes will blow it away.

"The reality is that they're probably going to be hit by winds and perhaps taken downstream a hundred or a thousand kilometres."

abc.net.au/news/2014-10-28/biological-cloud-seeding/5847944
I remember the good old days, when 90+ year olds in nursing homes lived forever. Darn this pesky virus.

1365 = 1

1.1365 = 1,283,305,580,313,352
Last Edit: 29 Oct 2014 05:31 by novum.
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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 05:35 #2

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Cloud-seeding microorganisms go under the microscope
by Kate Melville


A new study is the first to yield direct data on how bacteria, fungal spores and plant material influence cloud formation at high altitudes. The researchers, led by Kimberly Prather and Kerri Pratt of the University of California at San Diego, sampled water droplet and ice crystal residues at high speeds while flying through clouds in the skies over Wyoming. "If we understand the sources of the particles that nucleate clouds, and their relative abundance, we can determine their impact on climate," said Pratt.

Analysis of the ice crystals revealed that the particles that started their growth were made up almost entirely of either dust or biological material such as bacteria, fungal spores and plant material. While it has long been known that microorganisms become airborne and travel great distances, this study is the first to yield direct data on how they work to influence cloud formation. Results from the experiment appear in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The effects of tiny airborne particles called aerosols on cloud formation have been some of the most difficult aspects of weather and climate for scientists to understand. In climate change science, which derives many of its projections from computer simulations of climate phenomena, the interactions between aerosols and clouds represent what scientists consider the greatest uncertainty in modeling predictions for the future.

Aerosols, ranging from dust, soot, and sea salt to organic materials, some of which travel thousands of miles, form the skeletons of clouds. Around these nuclei, water and ice in the atmosphere condense and grow, leading to precipitation. Scientists are trying to understand how the nuclei form, as clouds play a critical role by both cooling the atmosphere and affecting regional precipitation processes.

The researchers performed in-situ measurements of cloud ice crystal residues and found that half were mineral dust and about a third were made up of inorganic ions mixed with nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon - the signature elements of biological matter. The second-by-second speed of the analysis allowed the researchers to make distinctions between water droplets and ice particles. Ice nuclei are rarer than droplet nuclei.

The team demonstrated that both dust and biological material indeed form the nuclei of these ice particles, something that previously could only be simulated in laboratory experiments. "This has really been kind of a holy grail measurement for us," said Prather. "Understanding which particles form ice nuclei, and which have extremely low concentrations and are inherently difficult to measure, means you can begin to understand processes that result in precipitation. Any new piece of information you can get is critical."

The findings suggest that the biological particles that get swept up in dust storms help to induce the formation of cloud ice, and that their region of origin makes a difference. The researchers note that evidence is increasingly suggesting that dust transported from Asia could be influencing precipitation in North America.

Source: scienceagogo.com/news/20090417224545data_trunc_sys.shtml
I remember the good old days, when 90+ year olds in nursing homes lived forever. Darn this pesky virus.

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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 05:36 #3

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Are there enough Chick Peas in the world to make this Viable?
It was always going to happen!!
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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 05:51 #4

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wolfy wrote:
Are there enough Chick Peas in the world to make this Viable?

Why chick peas in particular, did i miss something? :hahano:

the first post is talking about cropping and grazing land in oz, so i assume theyre talking different types of grains as well as legumes being grown, and the same pieces of land also being used to graze cattle, in rotation.
I remember the good old days, when 90+ year olds in nursing homes lived forever. Darn this pesky virus.

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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 06:07 #5

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novum wrote:
wolfy wrote:
Are there enough Chick Peas in the world to make this Viable?

Why chick peas in particular, did i miss something? :hahano:

the first post is talking about cropping and grazing land in oz, so i assume theyre talking different types of grains as well as legumes being grown, and the same pieces of land also being used to graze cattle, in rotation.



:chuckle:

(sorry)
It was always going to happen!!
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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 06:25 #6

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They actually grow chick peas in these parts hence the confusion.

Do we have a retard smiley (for me :chuckle: )

I remember the good old days, when 90+ year olds in nursing homes lived forever. Darn this pesky virus.

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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 06:31 #7

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I remember the good old days, when 90+ year olds in nursing homes lived forever. Darn this pesky virus.

1365 = 1

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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 06:50 #8

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good grief you guys :hahano: ...... :twitch: LOL. humour has the thread. :O

anyway as weather warfare is firmly in place , it's really a 'roll of the dice' what will ever grow again. :wissl:
Last Edit: 29 Oct 2014 06:51 by Lizzy.
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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 06:55 #9

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Yeah i do think they can smoke clouds among all the other things.
I remember the good old days, when 90+ year olds in nursing homes lived forever. Darn this pesky virus.

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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 11:19 #10

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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil?

Worth a try. Positive lateral thinking :thumbup:
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It's there to cover the news up

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Can farmers make it rain by building humus in the soil? 29 Oct 2014 13:00 #11

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novum wrote:
They actually grow chick peas in these parts hence the confusion.

Do we have a retard smiley (for me :chuckle: )




???
Last Edit: 29 Oct 2014 13:01 by Orangeaid.
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