12 Mar Invest in your soil structure prior to planting
Poor soil structure costs $$$ through decreased plant establishment, lower yields and wasted fertiliser, so it is worthwhile to take a second look at soil tests that you’ve taken over the years.
Are your Sodium, Magnesium or Chloride levels high? Is your soil pH over 7.0? Do your soils crust, collapse when wet or become cloddy when cultivated? You will already be aware of these problems but do you know what action steps to take to improve them?
Often when planting, the main focus is on providing adequate NPK for the crop. Poor soil structure is also an important consideration because it can have an even greater influence on production.
Why? Soil structure problems can limit seed germination, plant establishment and growth, root development and water infiltration.
Soil structure also has a direct influence on soil biology, nutrient availability and the ability for Nitrogen to be accessed by the plant.
Low Organic Carbon levels also contribute to poor soil structure, reducing biological activity, capillary action and humus in the soil. If your Sodium levels are elevated and your soil carbon levels are below 1.5% then there is a high chance that your soil will have a tendency to be ‘Dispersive’.
Dispersive soils have a structure that tends to collapse and become puggy when wet and very hard setting when dry, reducing air and pore space. The addition of Calcium helps to break the bond between the clay particles and Sodium, and increases the air space in the soil.
The addition of Sulphur is also important as it can now bond with the free Sodium ions and be flushed through the soil profile over time.
NatraMin Cal-S is specifically formulated to address soil structure and also provides broad spectrum minerals and trace elements to maintain the nutrient balance in soil. We are targeting elevated levels of Sodium, Sodium % Cations (ESP), Chlorides and also Magnesium to make a difference to crop yields.
The use of soil amendments such as NatraMin Cal-S can assist to enhance the effectiveness of starter fertiliser, helping to increase production. It may be that through yield mapping or dealing with the problem areas of a paddock that an investment to improve these areas is affordable.
There is no Nitrogen in NatraMin so it is important to continue to use starter fertilisers or manures for crop requirements.
Amending the soil structure is a step by step program. Every day our team of Field Advisors are on farm to provide support to our customers, so make a phone call to us today and explain your situation.