Home' Grower : October 2009 Contents Soil management
The South Australian Grower -- October 2009
Citrus blooms under compost
By ANGELA LUSH
increases have been
recorded in South
Australian Navel and Valencia
orange orchards after application of
soil amendments during a SA
Research and Development Institute
Yield increases between 17 and 63
per cent were recorded in 2008 after
a range of soil amendments
including grape marc, animal
manure and compost were tested.
"We were amazed at the yield
improvements we recorded -- they
were way above our expectations,"
said SARDI senior researcher Peter
"Increases in yield were due to
higher fruit density on the trees, as
well as increased fruit size."
On average, fruit measured in the
trial increased in diameter by 5-7
millimetres. This represents a
substantial increase for growers,
particularly those targeting lucrative
Navel export markets.
"This gives growers about an extra
$100 per tonne or $4000/hectare
and the yield benefits last well
beyond the first year after
application," Dr Crisp said.
Monitoring is continuing to
evaluate the number of years that
yield increases persist after the initial
application of soil amendments.
The SARDI study also looked at a
range of soil health factors including
levels of nitrogen and soil carbon.
Significantly higher nitrogen levels
were recorded where soil
amendments had been applied and
this could be because of the
nitrogen present in the soil
amendments, reduced leaching of
nitrogen through the soil profile or
increased microbial activity in the
soil (through bacteria that fix
nitrogen). More research is needed
to determine the exact cause of the
increased nitrogen levels.
Regardless of the nitrogen source,
the good news is that application of
soil amendments could reduce the
need for fertiliser applications such
as urea, saving significant amounts of
time and money.
Soil carbon plays a vital role in soil
health and fertility. Increasing soil
carbon levels helps to improve root
and plant growth and leads to
healthier, more productive plants.
Soil amendments provided a great
source of soil carbon in this study,
for example, adding up to 8.8t of
carbon/ha when compost was
applied at 40 cubic metres/ha.
"We found that composted green
waste increased soil carbon beyond
the level that can be explained just
by the carbon content of compost,"
Dr Crisp said.
"This means that carbon is being
stored or accumulated in the soil."
An increase in stored carbon may
provide additional commercial
opportunities -- as well as improved
plant growth -- for individual
growers and the citrus industry if
carbon trading is introduced, and if
this type of carbon storage is
A cost benefit analysis was
conducted during the study by
University of South Australia's Sarah
Wheeler. All amendments used in
the SARDI citrus trials -- composted
green waste, grape marc, animal
manure - showed a positive return
on the initial investment.
An application of 40m3/ha of
composted green waste in Loxton
North gave the highest benefit at
5.4 over 5 years, which meant
growers gained a return of more
than five dollars for every dollar
invested in compost, during a 5 year
Details: SARDI Peter Crisp
firstname.lastname@example.org; Angela Lush, Compost
For Soils 08 8339 8628.
Also see Upcoming Events on page 14 for 'Trust
Organic -- National Composting and Organic
Conference and Recycled Organics R&D Forum',
which will highlight Peter Crisp's project.
Increases in yield were due to higher fruit density on the trees, as well as increased fruit size.
Foli-Zyme still key in
Stoller fertiliser line
FOLI-ZYME, the liquid fertiliser that
put Stoller on the map, continues to
be the backbone of the company's
One of the first products produced
by Stoller Australia, Foli-Zyme is a
foliar liquid developed to aid plant
survival in stress conditions.
It remains a key product in the
Stoller range, and is now an integral
part of many fruit and vegetable
growers' regular programs.
Foli-Zyme is an integral part of
many fruit and vegetable growers'
regular programs, thanks to its ability
to rapidly restore crop balance and
limit stress impact.
Stoller was one of the first
companies in Australia to sell liquid
fertilisers, enter the market at a time
when liquid products held few
advantages over solid alternatives.
"At the time, liquids were relatively
new in the markeplace and words
like chelate and fluid fertiliser had an
exciting sound but in Australia we
didn't really know what to do with
them." Stoller Australia general
manager Richard Emery said.
"There were some businesses in
Australia mixing up brews but they
were all pretty simple."
The company operates in more than
45 countries worldwide and has a
network of dealers and Territory
Managers across Australia, as well as
a Technical Manager to supervise
trials and keep up with the latest
technology. Stoller has turned its
focus to how nutrients and natural
plant hormones influence growth, as
the company believes many
commonly-observed problems come
from an imbalance in hormone ratios
caused by the fertiliser programs or
Details: Stoller Australia 1800 337
NO RISK OF WEEDS
ABN 99 098 515 283
COMPARE THE ANALYSIS COMPARE THE COST PER ACRE
COMPARE THE SOIL BENEFITS WITH YOUR
COMPOSTED FOWL MANURE
23% 3.8% 2.2% 1.8% 3.4% 61% 208* 493* 1315* 142*
NATURES FERTILISER has all the attributes of a great all
round organic fertiliser. It provides a well balanced slow
release nutrition for all types of crops. It has a good
percentage of Organic Carbon which most Australian soils
are lacking. Organic Carbon is essential for holding nutrients
in the soil.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND ORDERS
PHONE CHRIS WATTS
MOBILE 0408 826 932
• HACCP APPROVED UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS
• BETTER SPREADABILITY
• REDUCED ODOUR
• SAFER TO HANDLE
• IMPROVED MICROBIAL ACTIVITY
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