with Brett Petersen
Kiwi Fertiliser & Golden Bay Dolomite
Recently, Kiwi Fertiliser has added a crucial string to its bow, a biological stimulant and fertility enhancer called Terragen Great Land. Please check out the website, Terragen Biotech. It makes interesting reading with the product having been created and tested by the University of Queensland. Testing has included many properties in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Farming enterprises include dairy, maize, sugar cane, lucerne, banana, vineyards, cotton, potatoes, avocados and many more with kiwifruit currently under trial in NZ.
It mattered not what the crop was, results were positive. Of real interest though was the fact that the Great Land product worked best where the properties involved were following the Albrecht system of soil fertility. This cements our long-held belief that soil fertility is a combination of chemistry, biology and physics (soil structure). If one partner of that triangle is not performing, then full soil, plant and animal potential cannot be realised. GL is organically certified.
The latest information we have is that a vineyard in SA applied GL three times before harvesting the crop. The results of soil applied with Great Land at 10 litres/ha at each application showed a 72 per cent in yield over the control, having no GL. Botrytis count was also reduced.
When it comes to dairy farms, one of the first signs of success is an increase in clover growth, a decrease in insect attack and increased pasture vigour during times of stress. New pastures, lucerne and crops have established extremely well despite recent dry conditions. Animal health and production have also increased, while mastitis cases, Somatic Cell Count and empty cow rates have all declined. In most cases empty cow rates have halved. This gain alone is worth thousands of dollars.
Lucerne trials showed increased yield of between 16 and 40 per cent, returning an extra $358/ha to $908/ha net gain after costs. Maize trials showed an average increase of 20 per cent across replicated sites. The gross margin advantage being $537/ha. Other trials have measured insect infestations that all decreased when GL was applied. With Diamondback moth, this reduction was 61 per cent. When kelp was added to GL, it was 72 per cent. Effluent ponds have also been treated and pathogen loads reduced. Pathogenic effluent was one of the factors allowing Mycoplasma bovis to become a problem recently.
Although mostly a bacterial product, GL enhances the beneficial fungal spectrum in the soil. This has huge benefits in enabling the minerals in the soil to be more available to plants. Just having good soil chemistry does not guarantee top results. Soils sequester more carbon and hold more water when the soil is properly balanced.