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July 29, 2007 Improved nutrient efficiency gets results in Crownthorpe

‘When I took over management of this property in the late seventies, my father had been applying 3cwt of superphosphate each year, with the odd application of lime, even though we’re on limestone country.’

Stock 190ha sheep and beef
Years of dicalcic use 20
Application No.8S (80% Dicalcic Sulphur / 20% Cropfi ne lime) 0:3.6:0:8 @ 400kg/ha

While this practice used to grow a lot of grass, I believed we could do better because the sheep were often covered in dags through the spring and the animal health wasn’t where I would’ve liked it to be. It was around this time that I became interested in using dicalcic, having become more aware of the positive comments from farmers in the area using it, and being able to apply lime and phosphate at the same time made good sense to me.

Ralph Harper

Ralph Harper

While this practice used to grow a lot of grass, I believed we could do better because the sheep were often covered in dags through the spring and the animal health wasn’t where I would’ve liked it to be. It was around this time that I became interested in using dicalcic, having become more aware of the positive comments from farmers in the area using it, and being able to apply lime and phosphate at the same time made good sense to me.

After several years of dicalcic use it was becoming more apparent that the liming effect was growing better grass and unlocking more nutrients from the previous superphosphate applications. There may be twice as much phosphate in superphosphate compared to dicalcic, but the lime and insoluble nature of dicalcic is the big difference. Thanks to its neutral pH, it encourages the soil biology which is very important to my farming operation. There are always earthworms under the cow pats, so they’re working to ensure the grass makes better use of the nutrients it does get.

I don’t apply any nitrogenous fertiliser, because I don’t feel I need to, yet the soil tests show plenty of naturally occurring nitrogen is available. Nitrogen applications may grow more grass, but I prefer to grow better grass, and experience has shown that the stock maintain condition and health longer into drier periods and recover quicker when grass does grow. It’s about looking at what the grass system here does, and the dicalcic blends are very complementary in keeping old pastures healthy.

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