Improving Germination and Soil Structure With NatraMin
Region: Kalbar, QLD
Greg and Stewart Conochie are brothers, and 3rd generation dairy farmers, working together to run the Conochie Family Farm ‘Brookland Jersey Stud’ at Kalbar. A team from AgSolutions recently visited the Conochie family to discuss the dairy industry, the challenges they face and how AgSolutions has helped them over the years. During their years of dairying the Conochies have faced many challenges, but are still going strong. As Stewart explains, “from bad weather events, poor milk prices and the deregulation of the dairy industry, you name it, we have faced it.”
The Conochies started working with AgSolutions over 10 years ago when they were having problems with germination in their ryegrass. During the initial discovery phase, soil tests were taken and a soil management plan was developed. Field Advisor, Paul Pritchard, has continued this partnership for the last 8 years by providing ongoing support with the monitoring of soil test results to manage any changes. When asked what they thought of the partnership, Stewart replied,
I’m happy with the soil management plan, it is very detailed, while being easy to understand and it focuses on what we need rather than trying to be too complicated.”
Paul Pritchard recalls, “during one of my previous visits to the Conochie’s farm, when they were doing some deep ripping of the Ryegrass paddocks, we were all amazed at how easily the tractor was moving through the soil and the amount of worms that were present”. Stewart affirmed, “those paddocks have had at least 8 years of NatraMin application and we have noticed a big difference, especially in the winter time when we plant Ryegrass. Prior to using NatraMin we were having huge problems with germination because of seed coverage and soil structure issues. We find that it is much better and we have a nice tilth now”.
A few years back the Conochies purchased another block and are once again partnering with AgSolutions to help improve the soil health. Paul comments, “we have applied NatraMin to this block for 3 years now and it is slowly coming along. It’s not quite where we want it, but we have definitely seen an improvement.” Stewart continues, “we have increased the rate of NatraMin applied this year to hopefully speed along the soil structure improvement.” Paul remembers, “the first time I went to that paddock there were football sized clods and it needed quite a few workings before you could do anything. It is now much softer and continually improving. It’s not as nice as we would like it, but we have seen increased nutrient levels in the soil tests, so we know we are on the right path.”
When Stewart Conochie was asked how he would introduce another farmer to AgSolutions he replied,
I would just tell them about the results we have achieved over the years using NatraMin on our pastures, especially the improvement that we have seen in our Ryegrass, Kikuyu and soil structure.”
AgSolutions would like to thank the Conochie family for letting us visit their dairy and sharing their story with us. It is fantastic to hear the positivity they have for their family’s future in the dairy industry and their love of being able to raise their children on the farm with the lifestyle that they all enjoy.