Home' Grower : June 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- June 2012
Actions to reduce the source of
H+ by reducing ammonium
By JEANETTE CHAPMAN,
Step up Soil Condition,
Hortex Alliance Inc.
GROWERS should use legumes to
provide base line supply of nitrogen,
and supplement with fertiliser during
periods of higher demand.
They are advised to minimise use of
ammonium-based fertilisers in favour of
urea or nitrate-based products.
Recommendations for growers:
• Use precision technology to adjust appli-
cation of fertiliser for soil conditions.
• Use reduced tillage to minimise nitrifica-
tion of ammonium to nitrate from
turnover of stubble and soil organic mat-
Actions to maintain neutralising
capacity by reducing nitrate
• Maintain living plant cover rather than
bare earth to encourage uptake of miner-
alised soil organic nitrogen reser ves dur-
ing dormancy of vines, fruit or nut trees,
and between annual crop cycles; apply to
areas with high winter rainfall.
• Ensure plant vigour is not impacted by
disease, nutrition, compaction or other
• Improve timing of nitrogen fertiliser
application to match demand by plants.
• Ensure nitrogen inputs do not exceed
• Use soil water monitoring devices to
ensure irrigation does not result in deep
drainage when not required for leaching
• Fertigate within the depth of the active
root zone and allow crops to take up the
nutrients before applying deeper irriga-
• Install more water efficient irrigation sys-
tems with high distribution uniformity
(DU-even horizontal distribution)
Maintain pumps and emitters to ensure
maximum efficiency and DU.
Actions to reduce export of plant
• Return pr uned plant materials to the
• Replace plant waste materials sent off for
composting (e.g. from glasshouse
• Fertilise to replace lost plant alkalinity
contained in har vested products.
• Lime to neutralise net acidity resulting
from export of plant material.
• Avoid burning stubble.
• Return the amount of hay carted from
paddocks when feeding stock.
• Regularly shift animal camps.
Actions to improve biodiversity:
• Use a diverse mix of cover crop species --
include deep rooted perennials and
species which flower at different times of
• When planting cover crops use planting
densities and types that suit the purpose,
e.g. lighter densities to allow minimum
tillage or direct seeding.
• Maintain activity of soil biota that
returns plant residues to areas of active
• Inoculate soil to stimulate microbial
populations, eg some carrot growers add
a little compost at sowing.
Residues or compost should be returned
to the crop row of trees and vines when
practicable, rather than the midrow.
Gypsum an be applied to help mop-up
excess aluminium to improve root growth,
and to open up clayey soil to improve
Apply lime to raise soil pH above pH 5 to
stimulate activity of earthworms and
These actions will maintain higher soil
organic matter which plays an important
role in buffering against change in pH.
Details: Jeanette Chapman
jeanette.Chapman@epa.sa.gov.au or Anthony
Loss of soil
Loss of soil
Reducing the Rate of Acidification, part 2
Waste major cause
of pests and disease
By BRIAN R JOHNSTON, consultant,
One World Environmental Solutions Pty Ltd
A PART of successful land management is
controlling the waste produced in the process of
This includes a variety of organic wastes and
plastics, metals and some hazardous wastes
(chemicals). Appropriate management of waste
streams can prevent the propagation of diseases
and pests that may breed on properties where
wastes are stockpiled, which is still common
practice throughout the NAP.
The Hortex Alliance has recently been awarded
funding from the NRM to host workshops for
growers on the northern Adelaide Plains to help
educate growers in better waste management
practices and how to achieve it in the most cost-
Workshops will held this month (June).
Tips for good waste management:
• Understand exactly what your waste consists of
and where it is coming from.
• Avoid/reduce the waste you produce by buying
items that will minimise wastage or only buy
quantities you need to minimise wastage.
• Equally important -- reduce the amount of waste
you send to landfill by buying items that are
readily recyclable or compostable.
• Purchase items that can be refused, rather than
just used once and thrown away.
• Maximise recycling by separating the waste
material streams at your site to increase the
quality of the materials for recycling and reduce
the costs of disposal.
The Waste Service Guide has a number of facilities
and service providers listed.
They will take a variety of waste types and
growers can minimise their costs by
understanding a few important points.
Common recyclable items in horticulture include:
• Organics -- plant off-cuts/prunings, waste fruit
and vegetables, plants, and timber.
• Plastics -- pots, sheet plastic, plastic bags,
plastic off-cuts; they should all be fairly clear of
dirt and other foreign materials.
Metals -- steel, wire, car bodies, roofing iron, old
• Chemical containers -- the plastic and metal
drums can be delivered to a drum muster
enclosure at any of the council transfer stations.
• Workshop bookings: Hortex via
Details: 08 87127 2812, 0419 018 806 or
Ph: (03) 6498 6800 Fax: (03) 6427 0801 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fraser Mearns -- Harvest Moon, Forth, TA
Phillip Beswick -- Farmer, Sisters Creek, Tasmania
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