Some years back there was a government backed campaign to buy locally made merchandise.  How effective it was is unknown however there was no way I was going to part with my hard-earned dollars for a New Zealand product unless it was as good as and price competitive with an imported one.

Since then, the world has embraced globalisation and the price of products imported from countries with lower labour costs has largely dealt to products from our traditional suppliers.

When price becomes the sole, or main, determinant of purchasing decisions quality deteriorates and value, what we get for our dollar, becomes increasingly difficult to ascertain.

As the pressure for immediate gratification has strengthened, successful farming, always a long-term venture, has suffered as the industry has embraced short term band aids for systems that have become increasingly wobbly.

With fewer multi-generational farming operations some really useful stuff is in danger of being lost. Which doesn’t mean everything of yesteryear was better than that of today, that’s simply not the case.

Animal health remedies often dismissed as old wives tales nearly always contain an element of truth and one piece of advice I received was that Golden Bay dolomite applied annually was a must do.

No more cows down behind hedges at five in the morning was the message given then and the feedback from farmers now.

There is only one dolomite mine in the country and that is at Golden Bay, which means transport to property is a factor, however it’s a lot less than cartage from the other side of the world which is hidden in the price paid for magnesium oxide.

Continuity of supply is also guaranteed, which is not the case for imported products. The timing of application is relatively unimportant.  Provided dolomite is applied at twelve-month intervals the lift in plant magnesium levels remains constant.

Another reason for it being the most effective magnesium fertiliser is the fact that it also contains calcium.  Magnesium related metabolic disorders are seldom due to just a lack of magnesium, it’s the balance between the two that is critical.

Prior to calving animals require extra magnesium to help release calcium from the frame, post calving extra calcium is required to meet lactation demands and dolomite delivers both.

Long-term dolomite users will sometimes also make a bin of dolomite available along with one of lime flour and allow animals to choose.  It’s a highly effective way of ensuring optimum calcium and magnesium levels throughout the year, and it doesn’t much matter if they get wet.

And the upside doesn’t stop there.  Dolomite is an excellent soil conditioner in its own right and applied at the standard 200 – 250kg/ha rate to soils damaged during winter it helps with recovery.

Soil is ideally 25% air and 25% moisture, and the conditioning effect of dolomite helps achieve that status.

It also has a pH or liming effect similar to high quality ag.lime.  Four years of applying dolomite at 250kg/ha, the highest rate required for pasture, means 1.0 tonne less lime will be necessary to maintain optimum soil pH. 

The cost of the annual application can be further offset by reducing the amount of magnesium in water supplies.  All animals perform best when their drinking water is clean and fresh.

The addition of magnesium sulphate and chloride makes water unpalatable resulting in animals drinking from puddles largely negating the intended effect.

A single annual application of Golden Bay dolomite is a stress reliever for operators and a production enhancer for animals.  As the late Prof Walker of Lincoln University wrote, “….individual farmers will have to make their own calculations, but in my view dolomite is the ideal material to use on acid soils low in magnesium….”

For more information call Peter on 0800 436 566

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