The wealth of this country is determined by the amount of humus contained in the top 25cm of the soil.  It’s often been said that weight for weight, humus is more valuable than gold.

By increasing the amount of humus in the soil significantly increased amounts of both moisture and nutrient are able to be stored resulting in increased yields of higher quality. Quantity and quality come in the same basket.

We could survive without gold however ancient civilisations have been destroyed as a result of the loss of the soil they relied on for their food.

Farmers are therefore the custodians of our future prosperity and having been able to provide them with both product and advice over the last twenty one years is both a privilege and a pleasure.

Many people believe the next breakthrough in soil fertility will come as an additive, captured in a container that when added to ‘fertiliser’ will be capable of solving all our problems.

It simply won’t happen like that.  Our knowledge will increase and significant new information will be discovered however the notion that a single product can be developed that will cure all the current problems, particularly those around soil and water quality is at best naïve.

The solution to the steady degradation of our soils resulting in increased Nitrate Nitrogen and other nutrient in our water will come as a result of a number of small steps being taken, and we already know several of them.

We know that by improving the physical soil structure of pastoral soils total pasture production increases.  The spread of growth throughout the season becomes more even, and the necessity for the renewal of 15% or more of the total farm pasture each year steadily declines.

With improved soil structures humus is created more rapidly resulting in increased nitrogen able to be stored.  Plant roots are able to penetrate more deeply intercepting greater amount of nutrient before it leaks into ground water.  Less nutrient particularly fertiliser nitrogen is able to be applied, and the cost of production steadily declines.

The key to driving soil fertility through improved soil structures lies with increasing plant available calcium.  More readily available calcium increases earthworm activity and physical structures steadily improve.

At this time of the year increasing calcium by applying lime may lead to calcium/magnesium imbalances in animals calving or lambing in spring, however there is a natural product that when applied prior to spring markedly reduces the incidence of these problems while stimulating earthworm activity.

Golden Bay Dolomite contains 11.5% magnesium and 24% calcium, therefore a magnesium fertiliser, and when applied at 250kg/ha where magnesium is required has an unsurpassed ability to improve overall animal performance.

Dolomite by its very nature is also a powerful soil conditioner improving the ability of soils to drain more freely during winter while retaining more moisture over summer.   This naturally occurring rock found only at Golden Bay provides a wide range of benefits, and with use of nitrogen already regulated in some areas now is an ideal time to start the process of improving soil health and reducing the reliance on expensive fertiliser inputs.

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