Successful Combination Of Green Manure Crops And Minerals For Soil Fertility
Region: Casino, NSW
Pastures hold on longer and handle the weather extremes. Irrigation has not been required despite 3 months of dry weather. Brian Hamilton, Casino, has the claim to being one of the first users of NatraMin on the North Coast, NSW over 20 years ago. Having good stands of clover that would die out due to nematodes, Brian first used NatraMin after a ginger grower on the Sunshine Coast recommended NatraMin to aid against nematodes.
“We were a typical dairy using lots of Urea and Lime prior to doing an Irrigation and Drainage Plan that included core sampling across our property. What we found was staggering. The core samples revealed that we only had a 10cm root zone and that below this was a ‘dead zone’ with zero life – no worms or soil biology and no root systems. We were farming only the top 10cm of our soil and not tapping into nutrients or moisture below that level. We linked these problems to the long-term, heavy use of Urea.”
Lime had been applied at 2.5T/ha every third year, resulting in some paddocks having had a history of over 30T/ha. Yet despite this, soil pH still remained low. High levels of Calcium can also cause nutrient lock-up.
NatraMin was first applied at 500kg/ha in front of soybeans, followed by rye and clover. Our pastures quickly had a new lease of life, the clover took off to a point where bloat became an issue for us.”
“Despite 3 months of dry weather we haven’t had to irrigate. (Photographs taken early January prior to rain). Our pastures continue to hold on longer and handle the weather extremes. Despite high Magnesium levels, the soil is soft. We no longer need to plough and can over sow with rye.”
Brian’s pasture program now includes growing green manure crops, NatraMin and chicken manure. The improvement in soil health and structure has improved soil carbon levels, resulting in better nutrient and moisture-holding capacity.
Confident recommendation of NatraMin to other farmers
It is worthwhile to persist with using NatraMin in your program, it will provide results. Since using NatraMin, our pH is good. With the return of legumes our fertiliser program has definitely been more economical because we were able to reduce Nitrogen inputs. We haven’t used Urea for over 12 years now.”
Minerals for livestock…
MegaMin stock supplements have also proven to be economical and are included in Brian’s dairy ration at 20kg/T.
We use MegaMin Extra Sulphur in our calf rations for the parasite benefits of Sulphur and our heifers and dry cows have access to MegaMin lick blocks to maintain mineral nutrition in their diet. Since reducing the use of Nitrogen and using NatraMin for our soil and MegaMin mineral supplements, our stock health and calving rates are exceptional.”