Allan Cherry – Agvac Pastoral

Softer Soil Increases Water Penetration and Provides Better Growing Conditions For Lucerne

Product Range: NatraMin Cal-S

Region: Gunnedah, NSW

The very first time Allan & Vicki Cherry, Gunnedah, applied NatraMin to their Lucerne they saw a response.

Our soil was prone to crusting and soil structure was on the decline and we knew that to improve the quality of our Lucerne, we had to improve our soil. 20 points of rain after planting was enough to seal the soil with a thick crust, reducing seed germination and water penetration.”

When Allan first applied NatraMin Cal-S in 2008 to one block of established Lucerne, he saw increased growth and improved colour within 4 weeks.

10 years ago we were getting 5-6 cuts from our Lucerne. With new varieties and our soil management program that includes NatraMin, we have now achieved up to 8 cuts over a 10 month period. Lucerne cuts used to be every 35 – 37 days, and now with the increased growth since using NatraMin, we are cutting 5 to 7 days earlier. NatraMin is now applied annually and the benefits of improved soil structure has resulted in less ground preparation, better seed germination, increased water infiltration and moisture retention. This all equates to an increase in production of quality Lucerne as well as reduced costs for labour, fuel, irrigation and water. Soil crusting has reduced from about 10mm to 2mm and the only bit of a challenge we have is that we can’t get back on our soil after irrigation because the soil is softer, and doesn’t set as hard. We need sustainability of our crops to be profitable so we focus the use of NatraMin on our Lucerne as that’s where our best return on investment is. The trace minerals in NatraMin are critical for Lucerne and this is potentially why we see such a growth response. Our Lucerne is now sweeter to taste and better quality, which is very important when selling to the horse market. Seeing worms in the soil highlights our soil improvements… they certainly weren’t here when we bought the property 17 years ago.”

Quality Lucerne is one thing, and quality ‘Agvac’ Santas is the other claim to fame for Allan and Vicky.

NatraMin has done the job on our soil and MegaMin mineral supplements do a fantastic job on our stud and commercial cattle. Because most of our grazing country floods, we use MegaMin all year round to ensure optimal nutrition for our cattle.”

“Supplementing our pasture fed bulls with MegaMin has allowed us to have quality sale stock without the need for grain feeding.”
When needed most, saving on irrigation water was possible…

With Lucerne, water is critical for growth, and for the Cherry’s, improved soil structure couldn’t have come at a better time.

We lost 83% of our water allocation, so we had to be able to do more with less. Since using NatraMin, our soil is holding water more efficiently and we have reduced both the frequency and the amount of irrigation water. Water is penetrating the soil better and there is less run off. 84 megalitres of water now does what 100 megs used to do.”