When observing changes on farms, we give credit to the wrong factors at least half the time. ~ Gary Zimmer

A foundational premise of holistic agriculture is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

This means that we can’t understand the whole by only analyzing the parts.

Herein lies the challenge of using single-factor analysis research to study agriculture.

There is really no such thing as a field trial where you only change one variable. When you change one thing, many other things change in the system. If you change the quantity of an applied nutrient, the microbial population shifts, root development changes, and the soil microbiology/plant symbiosis dynamics change completely, with cumulative effects that can show up on other crops in future years.

In such an intricate and integrated system, it is easy to assign credit where it may not be due, both when things go well, and when they don’t.