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August 20, 2011 Fertiliser improves kikuyu pasture on steep hill country in Northland

After decades of production orientated farming, in 2002 John Wood set the challenge of taking his 440ha mix of clay and rubbly volcanic soils situated on some of the steepest farmland in the region, into a new era of restoring and protecting its natural heritage, while building on its high productivity.

Size of farm (effective) 388ha
2010 Hatuma DP product used and rate: 400kg/ha Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate ®
(0:4:0:5) + 1T/ha agricultural lime

John Wood

This meant fencing off remaining bush, planting some 600 natives (kauri, rimu, puriri, taraire) in these areas, and establishing a new emphasis on nurturing the waterways within the farm’s deep valleys.

To complement these changes a new direction in sustainable fertiliser practice was also implemented. ‘Avoca Lime Company had just begun manufacturing dicalcic phosphate the traditional Hatuma way and it got me thinking about what the old guys used to do with reverted super,’ John recalls.

John initially used a blend of Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate® and lime on half the farm, and continued applying superphosphate on the other. But the results from the dicalcic blend made him change to spreading it across the whole property.

Six years on and John is still seeing the benefits from his decision. ‘With the extra fencing we put in, the stock used to be forced onto ropey and unpalatable kikuyu, but the clover content has improved so much that it’s growing amongst the kikuyu on the hill country and in patches that used to be just bare ground.

‘The Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate┬« is much more sustainable than other options out there. We’re getting an extra response and better animal performance, and we’re not pouring on the high – analysis stuff to get it.’

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