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August 12, 2007 Fertiliser choice aids to future-proof Lake Rerewhakaaitu

‘Our appreciation for dicalcic stemmed from a desire for improved stock health. We weren’t comfortable with the effect high analysis fertilisers seemed to be having on the stock, so that’s when we began dealing with Hatuma.

Farm Size 70ha
Stock 180 cows 2.6 cows/ha, 930ms/ha (av)
Years of dicalcic use 12
Autumn Dressing No 410 % Salt (0:3:0:4) @ 400kg/ha
Spring Dressing Dicalcic (0:4:0:6) @ 300kg/ha + Cropfine @ 150kg/ha

The results in the fi rst 12-18 months were outstanding. We¬†could see the change happening in the pasture’s colour¬†and the improved soil condition,’ says Nigel.

‘It became a lot more friable once we shifted away from¬†the acidic fertilisers. It was like the earthworms arrived with¬†the dicalcic,’ says Bernie.

Nigel & Bernie Payne

Nigel & Bernie Payne

‘The soil’s condition is absolutely paramount to our¬†business,’ says Nigel, ‘even more so as farmers become¬†increasingly regulated with fertiliser practices. With the¬†local lake here, and the market demand for more chemical free¬†produce, whatever is grown off this farm, its success¬†lies within the agronomy of the soil and how we treat it. It¬†begins and ends there.

The improvement in the natural soil fertility has meant¬†pugging has been reduced to a point where if it does,¬†the recovery is very quick. I now fi nd I can leave stock¬†longer on the heavier parts of the farm during the wet¬†winter conditions.’

‘We’ve also noticed less run-off when it rains, it just¬†seems to soak it all in,’ says Bernie. ‘In winter the entire¬†farm just works like a sponge, it absorbs a horrific¬†amount of water. It would have to be an exceptional¬†amount of rain for water to run off this property.¬†Because of this, we also know any litter from the stock¬†is absorbed and processed before it can become¬†a pollutant.’

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