Home' Grower : June 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- June 2011
a powerful tool
By JOHN NORTON
HUMATES are the most exciting input for the
increase of productivity and profitability in
agriculture since the advent of commercial
nitrogen. What began as a critical tool in biological
agriculture has rapidly become an essential
performance enhancer in all types of growing
What is all the noise about and should you be
investigating this strategy? This article may
serve to summarise some of the many benefits
of humates and hopefully inspire you to trial
these inputs if you are not already using them.
Fifty years of scientific research has
quantified the multiple benefits of humates
derived from brown coal. Professor William
Jackson has chronicled some of this research
in his 1000-page, award winning book Organic
Soil Conditioning. Humates have been shown
to be a highly productive input in all forms of
agriculture, in stock health management and in
If we consider the attributes of humus in the
soil we find that the long list of benefits
directly parallels the benefits of humates.
Humus provides pH buffering, increased heavy
metal and toxin tolerance, moisture retention,
microbe stimulation and support, soil structure
improvement and improved nutrient uptake.
Humates do the same thing, but more
powerfully, because they are like a concentrated
form of humus. Global heating and peak oil have
highlighted the vulnerability of an agricultural
system based upon petrochemicals and easily
influenced by weather extremes. Humates are a
multifaceted tool that addresses both situations.
Humic acid is the most powerful stimulant of
the beneficial fungi that build humus.
This all-important intervention in the carbon
cycle traps and stores CO2 that was otherwise
destined for the atmosphere. and hinder growth.
Humates can be utilised to remove these toxins.
Five key humate tips --
• Combine humic acid and fulvic acid together
for root crops.
• Put small amounts of humic acid in irrigation
• Use fulvic acid with legumes.
• Combine humic acid with liquid lime.
• Use fulvic acid to substitute for sunlight.
Details: Bio-Tech Organics 08 8380 8554 or
John Norton 0412305158.
"Eco-Ag...Way to Grow!"
By ANGELA LUSH
CALVARESI & Son has been a veg-
etable grower in the Virginia region
for the past 25 years. The company
grows cos and iceberg lettuces and potatoes
on the red clay loam and black soils typical
of the Northern Adelaide Plains.
Frank Calvaresi -- who r uns the business
with his brother Bruno -- said they had tra-
ditionally used chicken manure on their soils
but weren't getting the sustained nutrient
release they wanted.
"We found that the crop would get a quick
burst of nutrients but would r un out of
nutrients in the long term," Frank said.
The Calvaresi brothers were looking for a
product that would help supply nutrients to
the crop over a longer period, and 10 years
ago started experimenting with compost.
They incorporate compost into the soil a
few months before planting and have
recently started mixing gypsum with the
compost. This means only one pass of the
tractor instead of two which helps to min-
imise soil compaction.
To the Calvaresi brothers, the benefits of
compost are obvious and numerous. Their
crops look healthier, are more consistent
and they have seen improvements in yield
and in quality. Another important benefit is
that improved crop health means they do
not need to apply as many sprays.
"The crops are greener and more uniform
and need less fertiliser and chemical sprays,"
He says it is hard to estimate, but the com-
bination of higher yields, improved quality
and reduced use of sprays could amount to
increased income of up to $20,000 a year.
They have also seen improvements in soil
str ucture. The best results came when com-
post was spread 12 months ahead of plant-
"The soil is more friable and it has a better
water holding capacity," Frank said.
"Compost gives better overall nutrients to the
crop for a longer period."
Although they have been more than happy
with the results achieved so far with com-
Consistency key at Calvaresi Bros
Provides sustained nutrient release
Mix gypsum with compost
Less fertiliser and chemical spray
AT A GLANCE
Frank Calvaresi among lettuces that are benefiting from the addition of compost mixed with
post, the Calvaresi brothers are still experi-
menting. This year they will keep a close eye
on the paddocks where compost and gyp-
sum have been applied together.
The Calvaresi Brothers like compost
because it is a natural and cost effective way
of increasing soil fertility and improving the
health of their plants and soils.
"Compost is a natural product that does-
n't smell too much and gives long lasting
results in your soil," Frank said. "It's a nat-
ural way of increasing soil fertility at a rea-
Compost gives them the long lasting
results they wanted and the benefits extend
well beyond just supplying nutrients.
Details: Visit www.compostforsoils.com.au and
click on 'Fact Sheets' to read more about Calvaresi
and Son as well as other compost case studies.
Kaylee Maitland, Compost for Soils Ph: 7329 0422,
0408 818 438, firstname.lastname@example.org
By TONY BURFIELD, Compost for Soils
COMPOST is paying off for Virginia
greenhouse grower Phuong Vo. Before using
it, his fertiliser budget was $7000 a year --
now he only spends $1500 on fertiliser and
$2000 on compost annually.
Phuong is also getting higher yields from a
lower planting density, his plants are
healthier and he does not need to spray as
often for pests and diseases.
To hear Phuong's story first hand, google
the Compost for Soils website and watch the
YouTube video of Phuong and SARDI
researcher Matt Ayres discussing compost
use in Phuong's greenhouses. This video
forms part of a series, profiling farmers that
use compost across a range of different
Phuong and Matt talk about how compost
has changed the water-holding capacity and
structure of the soil as well as the plant root
profile. Compost has also helped unlock
nutrients that were previously unavailable to
Details: www.compostforsoils.com.au and click
on Fact Sheets to read Phuong's story or contact
Tony Burfield, Compost for Soils, 0401 120 857,
email@example.com or Kaylee
Maitland, CFS industry development officer 0408
818 438 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Phuong Vo is also getting higher yields
from a lower planting density, his plants
are healthier and he does not need to
spray as often for pests and diseases.
(MC) Training Available
Medium Rigid, Heavy Rigid and Heavy Combination training in the Riverland
Call Cameraon 0429 838 861
Forklift and Frontend Loader -- Call Peter 0419 158 201
For all other locations and general enquiries
call Brian 0419 838 861
Authorised & Accredited Driving Instructor Nationally Accredited Assessor
& PRACTICAL TRAINING (T.I.L.E.)
FROM CAR TO SEMI-TRAILER AVAILABLE
NEXT T.I.L.E. COURSE 2ND & 3RD JULY
• Forklift • Front End Loader/Backhoe • Heavy Combination
email@example.com www.regtraining.com.au CITB TRAINING PROVIDER
Links Archive May 2011 July 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page