Fresh From The Farm!
by Lee Sok Lian｜李淑莲
A guest said of Mahota Farm: “I sensed the passion and joy among the staff at the farm.”
Indeed the joy and passion hit me each time I visit.
The guest Por So Loon, on her first visit, was taken aback by the sheer size of the farm. Her eyes widened even more when our Pest Management expert Prof Kuo took her into his laboratory for a closer look at assorted fat worms gorging themselves on juicy leaves.
Prof Kuo explained with a wicked gleam in his eyes when So Loon asked what he was doing with the wriggly specimens: “Finding ways to KILL them!” He obviously relished the thought of doing so.
So Loon shuddered at his murderous intent.
Pests do great damage to the crops and reduce the harvests. We learn to work with nature in protecting the crops. When it comes to pests, we find that prevention is better than cure. We develop and maintain a natural ecosystem which encourages natural predators to keep pest numbers down. We also use barriers and traps to combat and monitor pests. We check the crops regularly to avoid nasty surprises. This way bountiful harvests are almost always guaranteed.
The practice of single species cultivation makes crops an easy target for pests. To reduce the severity of pest damage, industrial growers invariably resort to pesticides to control disease. Pesticides may help to rid crops of pests, but this is done at great cost. Soil fertility is greatly reduced. We choose to avoid monoculture farming altogether.
We understand that different types of crops require different nutrients. To maintain soil fertility, we rotate the crops every season. Leaving the soil fallow for a period of time allows it sufficient time to recover, thus preventing the total depletion of nutrients. The quality and quantity of the crops harvested are almost always assured.
What about the livestock?
The chickens, rabbits, pigs, goats and geese roam freely in their own space. Piped music keeps everyone happy all day long. Come to think of it, I have yet to see a depressed or sad soul (human or animal) on the farm!
Just like their human companions, the animals are given nutritious health-giving food which keeps them fit and strong. Hormones and antibiotics are not introduced into their systems, so the animals stay healthy and happy. The organic wastes generated by the livestock provide nutrient-rich material for composting. Hardly anything goes to waste. Everything is reused and recycled. Everything serves a purpose. Pretty much as nature intended.
Since the soil is very important to farmers, we use compost to enrich it. We practise crop diversity and rotation. Hedges are cultivated to protect the topsoil, preserving its fine quality for years and years to come.
It’s a perfectly sensible system!