If you find
Symptoms can mask causes
Causes can be hard to uncover
Problems keep repeating no matter what you do
Tackling the cause means getting past the symptom (for example a weed infestation) to discover what created, promoted or allowed the weed problem to occur.
Once you have dug behind the symptom to see what led to it and how that played out to become a weed infestation, you can do what it takes to have a tackled cause — you can deal with the thing or event that drove things along.
When you have tackled the cause, you have probably prevented it from creating the next weed infestation.
If you can find a way to tackle permanently whatever is causing the weed problem, you can prevent any further recurrence or at least reduce its impact on you.
Symptoms — the visible signs — are usually obvious.
Causes may take a little detective work.
As a result it is easier to deal with symptoms and to think that symptoms are important.
The weed infestation is the visible problem and so it is easy to reach for a spray and hit it hard.
But if you think about the problem, it probably occurs most years at about the same time.
Something is driving it such as:
- SEASONAL conditions — when the rain comes or the temperature reaches a certain level etc
- FARMING practices — tillage, planting, irrigating etc
- A FAILING or limitation in some aspect of your management — a pasture phase that is not long enough and therefore does not suppress weeds enough or does not build enough nitrogen in the soil to give the crop a head start etc.
So the symptom is not the problem. A driver such as one of those listed above is causing, assisting or allowing the weeds to get ahead of the crop.
Too often in farming and so many other areas of life it is the symptoms that get tackled. There is often a “solution” for a symptom because they are easy to make and to sell and highly profitable. The farm chemicals industry is built on this.
Being reliant on your own management can save you a lot of money that would otherwise go on chemicals. At the same time, it will improve your farming and your lifestyle.
The “solution” for the symptom often takes the form of something that can be easily applied and will supposedly to solve the problem, such as using a poison on a pest.
But treating the symptom only fixes the symptom. The cause remains to haunt us.
If instead you look at what allows the pests to build up to problem levels you may have several ways to reduce their impact before it is too late.
Once you locate the cause it is often obvious what to do.
And that will lead you — perhaps with a bit of trial and error — to a Tackled cause.