Reduced Sodium from 12% to 3% – Quality silage reflects soil improvement!
Product Range: NatraMin Cal-S
Region: Brymaroo, QLD
Darling Downs dairy farmers, Noel and Grant Wieck and their families mark the 4th generation on the land, dairying since 1921. Similar to many farmers, their main challenge had been soil structure issues associated with dark soils with elevated levels of Sodium and Magnesium.
Growing their own forage since 1982, in 1996 they made the change to total mixed rations where they grow, cut and carry all of their own grain and forage. In order to increase herd production, the Wieck’s needed to increase grain and forage yields.
Having read about soil remineralisation in our newsletter for a number of years, in 2007 Grant first applied 4 tonne of NatraMin to a trial area of cultivation to gauge changes to their soil structure. Based on early results, they increased their application to 70 tonne of NatraMin in 2008.
Grant recalls, “where we applied NatraMin in 2007, come harvest time, we could really see the difference where the spreading of NatraMin didn’t overlap.”
Since then, around 150-200 tonne of NatraMin has been applied each year at 400kg/ha to irrigated country and a reduced rate to dryland cultivation.
With 450ha of their 800ha property under cultivation, they currently milk 260 cows with a herd average of 7500 – 8000 litres.
Grant concludes… “We’ve got these soils to a point now where we can reduce the application rate of NatraMin and in some paddocks we won’t need to apply for a few years.
It has turned our soils around and as a result of improving soil structure, we have less tillage, better water use and our yields have improved dramatically. Our silage pits are full and our soil tests are proof on paper of what we are experiencing in the paddock.”
Nutrient availability increased
AgSolutions works closely with the Wieck family, assisting with soil testing, leaf testing, manure analysis for nutrient calibration and linking in with other companies to assist with information on legume cropping rotations.
Paul Pritchard, AgSolutions Field Advisor for the Downs and Lockyer areas, has seen the transformation of the Wieckís Darling Downs soils.
“We’re monitoring soil tests every second year and in the black soils and under the centre pivots we have consistently seen a reduction in Sodium (salt) levels from 12% to less than 3% which is desirable. Trace mineral levels have improved along with the Phosphorus availability following the 3 years of NatraMin Cal-S.”