DECLINING SUB CLOVER LEVELS IN PERENNIAL PASTURES
Published June 2012

The use of “Super & Sub”, or topdressing fertiliser with legumes, has been a technique used for decades in the pastoral zones of Australia. During the high rainfall years in the 40’s & 50’s, this technique proved highly successful, however in more marginal autumn starts, topdressing clover seed can be a risky exercise. The seed at the soil surface requires a regular supply of moisture to ensure seed imbibing & germination. More often than not, our autumn rainfall has been hardly reliable in recent memory &, as a result, the technique of topdressing clovers onto the soil surface & expecting reliable germination & establishment has been disappointing in many instances. Results from a topdressing trial in the Monaro in 2008 (presented in table 1) highlight the difficulty in establishing sub clover by this method:
Table 1: Sub clover establishment in the Monaro, NSW under different techniques from a broadcast rate of 8 kg seed/ha (equates to around 120 seeds/m2).
Establishment technique Establishment rate
Topdressing onto soil surface 10 plants/m2
Knockdown herbicide applied prior to topdressing onto soil surface 22 plants/m2
Knockdown herbicide applied prior to direct drilling clover seed 90 plants/m2
No knockdown herbicide applied prior to topdressing onto soil surface 40 plants/m2

The effect of weed control & covering the seed to improve seed:soil contact is clearly evident from this trial. This emphasises the importance of avoiding topdressing clovers into weedy paddocks, & where possible, direct drill or even harrow after topdressing to improve the seed contact with the soil. In marginal autumns, this can mean the difference between a very average result & an acceptable result. For further information on selective control of annual grasses, such as barley grass, this winter, please give Landmark Daniel Walker a call to arrange a chat with their consulting agronomist Roger Garnsey.

 SLOW & STEADY WINS THE RACE FOR MICROLAENA

Published June 2013

Microlaena or Weeping grass is a cool season (C3) tufted perennial grass which produces year round green growth. While it is often not as productive as some of the introduced perennial grasses or short term Italian ryegrasses (producing around 7 t DM/ha compared to 9-11 t DM/ha for Italian ryegrasses), it can produce a high quality feed (15% protein & 9 MJ ME/kg when vegetative)

However, microlaena spreads very slowly by seed & short rhizomes under the soil. Weeping grass is a highly competitive species that responds well to increased fertility and moderate-to-heavy grazing while it is actively growing. It is extremely drought tolerant & established in a wide range of soil conditions & soil types. It is ideally grown with a legume species, such as sub clover, which provides additional Nitrogen to the pasture sward. Tall weeping flower heads are produced from summer through to autumn.

Recent research results
Recent research by Meredith Mitchell (NSW DPI) has clearly demonstrated the very slow seedling recruitment in microlaena pastures. A Victorian field site supporting a heavy stand of microlaena showed the following reproductive features:

1.  Seed production: 800 seeds/m2.
2. Seed survival: 30% of the seed produced was lost in the first 24 hours after seed dispersal from the seedhead (through foraging ants). Bird predation was eliminated.
3. Seed bank in the soil: of all the seed contained in the topsoil, only 0.05-0.01% of all seed was microlaena seed.
4. Seed germination: around 60% in this field trial.
5. Seedling recruitment: an average of 5 microlaena seedlings/m2 was found in the year after seed drop.
In short, microlaena clearly has a very low reproductive rate for microlaena, from seed production through to seedling recruitment.  This research indicates that while this species may be widespread throughout the Tablelands, it has taken a long period of time to reach the current density that we now observe in native pastures. Once these natives are gone, they are often difficult to reintroduce & may take many years to ‘thicken up’ to a level that growers would consider to be a productive perennial pasture. 
For further information on perennial pastures, such as Microlaena, please do not hesitate to contact our consulting agronomist, Roger Garnsey through Landmark Daniel Walker on
02 48 422405.

 

 

 

LOCAL TRIAL UPDATE – PHOSPHORUS TRIALS

First Published June 2015

CSIRO has established two legume trials at Yass (sown 2012) & Bookham (sown 2013) to benchmark the critical phosphorus (P) requirements of eight alternative pasture legumes, subterranean clover and lucerne, and two pasture grasses.

Early results indicate that some alternative legumes are likely to have substantially lower critical P requirements than subterranean clover.  However, these trials are only in their infancy & are expected to run for several years.

Insect pests to watch out for this winter:

Bryobia mites have been causing damage to establishing crops across NSW and northern Victoria this year. The adult mites are slightly smaller than a pin head with a dark grey body and pale red/orange legs. They are easily confused with red-legged earth mite. Bryobia present control challenges but the good news is that populations will wane as winter approaches; they are more of a warm-season pest.

Yellowheaded cockchafers have been causing problems in cereals and pastures in some areas of NSW; however they are difficult to control after sowing. Yellowheaded cockchafer larvae are “C” shaped, creamy-grey in colour and have a yellow head capsule. The grubs live in the soil until mid-to-late summer, where they emerge as yellow-reddish beetles about 10-15 mm in length. Unlike blackheaded pasture cockchafers, which come to the surface to feed, yellowheaded cockchafers are primarily root feeders, making control with insecticides more difficult.

Redlegged earth mites continue to hatch across many regions, indicating the need to monitor. Newly sown crops & pastures are particularly vulnerable at emergence.

For further information on these agronomic issues, call Landmark Daniel Walker’s consulting agronomist Roger Garnsey on 0429 625880.

KEEP ON THE LOOKOUT FOR SLUGS

First Published June 2016

Much of the slug damage in the southern region high rainfall zone is caused by two different species – the grey field slug and the black-keeled slug.

A few pointers:

  • Monitor paddocks closely by putting out ‘traps’ in various high-risk areas. Slug traps eg hessian bags, tiles, or containers set in the paddock, with slug bait.
  • The economic threshold for slug control is quite low, so you only need 1-2 slugs/m2 to warrant baiting.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is important for slug/snail control: use a range of control measures, including grazing/burning excess trash over summer, baiting prior to & maybe even after sowing, cultivation prior to sowing & rolling after sowing;
  • Baiting known problem paddocks should be undertaken to avoid damage.
  • Spread baits through a seeder, (not a spreader, as less damaging to baits.
  • Use a higher quality baiting product which is rainfast & persistent. Note that these products will still only provide 3-4 weeks control at best.
  • For growers involved in cropping, the longer the rotation, the greater the risk for increased slug issues.

For further information on slug & snail management, call Landmark Daniel Walker or their consulting agronomist, Roger Garnsey on 0429 625880.

MAKING SURE YOUR LEGUMES ARE FIXING N

Published June 2017

Effective legume nodulation is vital to maximize pasture productivity. A well-functioning legume can fix 20-30 kg Nitrogen (N)/t dry matter, or up to 200 kg N/ha. A recent survey of over 60 paddocks in the Central West and Riverina by NSW DPI & Local Land Services showed more than 90 per cent of paddocks had inadequate levels of nodulation. Several aspects appear to be constraining legume nodulation, including:

  • Soil acidity: Lime soils if soil pHCaCl <5.0, or Aluminium >5%;
  • Maintain optimum soil fertility: Apply Phosphorus if levels are dropping below critical (~P Col of 30 mg/kg, check PBI), or apply Sulphur if levels are low (i.e. aim for S KCl40 8-10 mg/kg). Accurate soil testing is required to determine fertility levels;
  • Apply Mo fertiliser every 3 to 4 years (particularly on acidic soils);
  • Be aware of residues and plant back periods.

It is important to check you paddocks for legume nodulation. This involves digging up & washing clover plants in late winter/early spring to check for evidence of effective nodulation. As a guide, adequate nodulation would be 20-30 small nodules/plant combined with 3-4 large pink nodules. If legumes are not nodulating effectively, plant nodules can be tested for bacteria identification & re-inoculation of pastures may be required.

For further details on legume nodulation or testing of your legume samples, contact Landmark Daniel Walker or their consulting agronomist, Roger Garnsey on 0429625880.

PEST SPECIES TO WATCH OUT FOR
First Published July 2012

The following pests have been reported in a number of pastures and/or crops across NSW & Victoria. In particular, keep a vigilant eye out in establishing crops & pastures:
True & false wireworms: True wireworms have been observed in several barley, oat and vetch paddocks in the Mallee district of Victoria & near Young, NSW. In some cases, they are chewing on the roots of seedlings, causing wilting and plant death in some patches of the paddock. True wireworms are the larvae of several species of Australian native beetles commonly called ‘click’ beetles. The larvae grow between 15-40 mm in length, are soft-bodied, flattened and slow moving. True wireworms feed on underground roots, seeds and stems. True wireworms are largely confined to cereals, although larvae are occasionally reported in pulse crops and canola. Like false wireworms, problems with true wireworms are often associated with stubble retention and trash from previous crops, which is believed to provide a refuge that favours survival and breeding.
False wireworms attack a variety of crops including cereals and canola, and are mostly found in paddocks with high amounts of stubble and trash. The larvae are relatively fast moving, have a pair of prominent spines on the last body segment and vary in colour from cream-yellow to brown-grey.
Canola aphids: Over the last few weeks there have been reports of green peach or cabbage aphids persisting in high numbers on emerging canola crops.
European earwigs: European earwigs are also present in some canola crops around Cootamundra, in the South West Slopes district of New South Wales. Minor levels of damage have been found in some crops, where the earwigs have chewed the margins of cotyledons. European earwigs mainly attack canola, but will also attack cereals, lupins and some legume crops. When feeding they tend to chew the developing seedlings around the stem and slow plant development. The typical appearance of later foliar damage is shredded leaf tips and/or irregular holes in leaves. European earwigs range from 12-20 mm long, are smooth and shiny dark brown in colour with pale yellow legs. It is important to distinguish earwig species in order to make the most appropriate management decision and accurately assess the risk of attack to emerging crop seedlings.
Slaters: high numbers of slaters are suspected as the cause for poor Lucerne seedling germination in a paddock in the Wimmera district of Victoria. Slaters can attack broad-acre crops, and in some instances can cause serious damage. In the past few years, we have received reports of slaters causing damage to cereals, canola, lentils and pastures in New South Wales and Victoria. Feeding results in uneven rasping-type damage that often appears as ‘windows’ of transparent leaf membrane. However, the presence of slaters within a paddock (even in high numbers) does not necessarily mean a pest issue. Slaters typically feed on decaying organic matter and only rarely feed on emerging crop seedlings.
Contrary to common belief, slaters are crustaceans, not insects. They have a hard skeleton on the outside of their bodies and many pairs of jointed legs. Slaters need damp conditions and will die if exposed to open and dry situations. There are no insecticides registered against slaters in broad-acre crops, and reports indicate they are relatively unaffected by foliar sprays of both synthetic pyrethroids and organophosphates applied to control other crop establishment pests. There are chemical baits registered for use against slaters in horticulture, and reports suggest some success with chlorpyrifos baits in Western Australia.
Balaustium mites: Balaustium mites have been observed attacking oat plants in Victoria. There are currently no chemicals registered for the control of Balaustium mites. In addition, Balaustium mites are tolerant to a range of insecticides.
Slugs: canola crops have come under attack from slugs following the recent cool temperatures and rainfall. Baiting has continued in many paddocks. Similar situations have occurred in many regions of southern New South Wales this season. Canola has emerged in drying soil conditions and remained at the cotyledon-2 leaf stage for several weeks. Following cooler and wetter conditions, slugs have become active, and once again, begun attacking the susceptible plants before they have had a chance to outgrow the damage.

For further information on these insect pests, or any other insect issues that you may be having, call Landmark Daniel Walker to arrange an appointment with Roger Garnsey.

LOVELAND PRODUCTS TO BOOST PASTURE GROWTH RATES
First Published July 2013

A new range of products from Loveland (an American based company) are available through Landmark Daniel Walker, designed to boost the performance of your crops & pastures. There is a range of Loveland products designed to enhance the growth of the plant as described below. Since introduction into Australia last year, these products have been shown to improve cereal grain quality & yield (up to 20%).  In pastures, responses have been seen when applied to Italian ryegrass & Lucerne. As a result, we are actively trialling these products in the Braidwood area to determine what responses we can expect from this new liquid product range in the local environment.
Awaken:
Awaken is a nutritional product (containing 16% Nitrogen & 2% Potassium + chelated micronutrients) designed to improve the vigour & yield performance of crops. Awaken has been shown to improve early growth & vigour in the plant (hence the name), producing a more fibrous & extensive root system. As the name suggests, application of Awaken should occur in the early stages of growth i.e up to mid tillering stage in grasses & cereals, or 4-6 leaf stage in broadleaf crops.
NutriSync M & NutriSync D:
The NutriSync products (NutriSync M for monocots for grasses & NutriSync D for dicots or broadleafs) are nutritional liquids designed to enhance plant physiological activities & growth of crops/pastures by improving the uptake & utilisation of nutrients. This is achieved through ‘Inositol’ technology, which remobilises nutrients that are in the plant & redistributes them to critical areas of need. It contains a small amount of Nitrogen as well as the following critical nutrients for plant function:
·         2 % Potassium: regulates sugars, carbohydrate production & storage. Potassium is often in low quantities in the soils around Braidwood;
·         0.02% Boron: required for translocation of sugars, regulates cell division, salt absorption, flowering, fruiting, hormone movement, pollen germination, carbohydrate metabolism, water use & nitrogen assimilation in plants. Boron is often in low quantities in the soils around Braidwood;
·         0.3% Manganese: aids in nitrate & chlorophyll assimilation. Processing of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis.
·         0.07 % Zinc: governs cell wall integrity & is a main contributor to auxin production. Aids in protein synthesis & consumption & regulation of sugars. Plays a role in chlorophyll formation.
Maximum N-Pact
Maximum N-Pact is a foliar applied Nitrogen source, containing 24% Nitrogen which is stable (less prone to losses through leaching or gas formation) & highly compatible. The benefits of Maximum N-Pact include:
·         Increased uptake – 29% better absorption rate than Nitrate Nitrogen;
·         Improved translocation in the plant – 44% better translaminar activity than Nitrate Nitrogen;
·         Reduced volatility & excellent crop safety;
·         Highly compatible – can be applied with fungicides/insecticides
Keep an eye out for further information on this exciting new range of liquid products this year. We will be presenting results from local demonstration trials at our spring field day.

INSECT PESTS THIS YEAR
First Published July 2014

A distinguishing feature of the early autumn break combined with mild temperatures has been the high levels of insect pests this year.
Lucerne flea (or commonly called leaf hoppers) has been more damaging this autumn than most. It typically causes a ‘window pane’ effect on the leaf (as shown in the picture), caused by young nymphs feeding on the soft tissue on the underside of leaves. Adults and older nymphs rasp and chew irregular holes in leaves and can completely defoliate plants.
Lucerne flea hatch from their summer diapause following periods of good soaking autumn-winter rainfall. Egg development is stimulated when the soil remains moist for at least 3 days and the average daily temperatures for the following 11 days remain below 22°C. This is unlike earth mites that have much cooler temperature thresholds. The early hatch this year in some regions of southern NSW and northern Victoria is likely to result in a second generation before winter, placing later-sown crops at risk.
If chemical control is required, do not use synthetic pyrethroids (e.g. Fastac duo, Astound). In paddocks where damage is likely, a border spray may be sufficient to prevent movement of lucerne fleas into the crop from neighbouring paddocks. As lucerne fleas are mostly distributed patchily within crops, spot spraying is often all that is required. Do not blanket spray unless the infestation warrants it.
If the damage warrants control, treat the infested area with an insecticide (such as Le mat/Omethoate or Dimethoate) about three weeks after lucerne fleas have first emerged in autumn. This will allow for the further hatching of over-summering eggs but will be before they reach maturity and begin to lay winter eggs. Also consider Gaucho seed dressings when sowing to deter feeding of young seedlings by lucerne flea.
To avoid populations building up in subsequent years, consider some of the cultural control options. Grazing with livestock in spring to reduce the height of pasture will limit food resources and increase mortality of lucerne fleas. Control broad-leaf weeds (e.g. capeweed) to remove alternative food sources that would otherwise assist in population build-up. In pastures, avoid clover varieties that are susceptible to lucerne flea damage, and avoid planting susceptible crops such as canola and lucerne into paddocks with a history of lucerne flea damage.
In addition to lucerne flea, red legged earthmite, blue oat mite, millipedes, slaters and slugs have all been active this autumn. Monitor crops & newly sown pastures for establishment & damage from these insect pests.

 

 

 

 

 

For further information on insect pests on your pastures or crops, call Landmark Daniel Walker today to arrange an on site appraisal of your situation with their consulting agronomist Roger Garnsey.
Maximising winter crop growth

With the onset of the colder weather, early sown winter fodder crops, such Italian ryegrass & forage oats are providing a valuable source of high quality feed.

It is important to obtain the greatest production

(& therefore payback) from this significant investment. Soil Nitrogen often becomes limiting at this time if year as soil microbial activity (& therefore Nitrogen turnover) declines. Whilst pasture legumes fix ‘free’ Nitrogen during the warmer months of the year, once soil temperatures fall below 10 oC, clover growth ceases, as does Nitrogen (N) fixation – as a result, our soils typically experience a deficit of available Nitrogen during May-August. To supply additional Nitrogen to ryegrass, fertilising with a Nitrogen-rich fertiliser makes sound economic sense.

Nitrogen Fertilisers

There are a number of Nitrogen-based fertilizers available on the market, however it is important to use products with a proven track record containing high levers of Nitrogen (N). Urea (containing 46% N) offers a good option for supplying additional Nitrogen, particularly as there has been a reduction in the price of urea this year. Responses from urea from application in winter range from 300-800 kg additional dry matter/ha. The most effective rates of urea for cereal crops & Italian ryegrass are 100-125 kg/ha (or 45-55 kg N/ha) to increase winter pasture production. Apply to these crops at early-mid tillering stage of growth, rather than rank¸ tall crops which will not use Nitrogen efficiently.

Most crops are sown with ‘starter’ fertilizer, such as DAP, MAP or Croplift, which will provide 15-20 kg N/ha, enough for around 4-6 weeks to get the crop started – hence the name. As the sown crop depletes this starter N & soils become colder, the crop starts to run out of soil N & runs into a N deficiency. Usually, crops are grazed initially in early winter before livestock are removed & a Nitrogen based fertilizer is applied to correct low Nitrogen levels in the soil. This increases crop regrowth to provide valuable additional feed in mid-winter, when it is need most.

In addition, liquid-based fertilisers, such as the Loveland products, Maximum N Pact (containing 24% Nitrogen) & Awaken (16% N) have been shown in the local area to improve winter growth from Italian ryegrass.

Dry matter responses to Nitrogen fertilizer, such as urea, Awaken & Maximum N Pact are quick – typically 4-6 weeks after topdressing. Do not graze within 2-3 weeks of application due to the potential for nitrate poisoning of livestock at this stage.

Gala Growth Regulator

In addition to urea, Gala Growth Regulator can also be used for increasing winter feed.  Essentially a naturally occurring hormone (10 % gibberellic acid), Gala was originally sold into the horticultural market to promote desirable harvest effects (e.g. fruit thinning, elongation and ripening in grapes and citrus).  However, it was also found to promote cell elongation, division and hence, DM production in pasture grasses in winter, due to low production of gibberellic acid during the colder winter months.  In summary:

  1. Application rates: 40-80 mL/ha;
  2. Apply 100 L/ha of spraymix by boomspray;
  3. A base of at least 1000 kg DM/ha is recommended before application;
  4. as with urea, grass species are more responsive to Gala than broadleaf or clover species;
  5. typical response of an additional 500-700 kg DM/ha (similar to urea) have been recorded with no loss in feed quality;
  6. responses can be seen within 7 days, lasting about 21 days (subject to adequate soil moisture and nutrients).  In comparison, responses to urea will take 2-3 weeks, with the peak in response occurring 6-8 weeks after application;
  7. Gala can also be used in combination with urea for a greater growth response. The two products applied together have a synergistic effect;
  8. After application, rest the paddock for up to 21 days.  You can then follow up with a further application every 3-4 weeks after the initial application to maximise winter growth of selected paddocks on the farm;
  9. Best results when ambient temps are 6-15oC (e.g. June-August).  Application during heavy frosty periods should be avoided;
  10. Very cost competitive @ approx. $1/g or up to $20/ha + application costs, compared to urea @$70/ha + spreading;
  11. It is an organically certified product with a nil grazing withholding period.
  12. It can be tank mixed with insecticides & selected herbicides.

For further information on strategic fertilizer and Gala Growth Regulator use for increased winter pasture growth, call Landmark Daniel Walker today on 02 4842 2405 to arrange an on-site appraisal of your situation with their consulting agronomist Roger Garnsey.

 

WEEVIL WATCH

Published July 2016

In this region, the more common types encountered are mandalotus, sitonal & white-fringed weevil. Monitoring in early winter is suggested, particularly in newly sown pastures & established lucerne:

Mandalotus weevil; native Australian, occur mainly in lighter soil. Adults are small, flightless, 3-5mm in length. Round, dull brown, often resembling a small clod of dirt. Larvae are very hard to find it the field.

Sitona weevil; can be identified by a short, broad snout and three pale stripes on the thorax. Larvae are white and legless, with an orange-brown head capsule and grow up to 5 mm long and live in soil near plant roots.

White fringed weevil; large flightless, lighter coloured stripe alongside of the body. Larvae feed on roots, mostly of legumes (esp. Lucerne). Larvae are extremely difficult to control. Adults grow to 10-13mm. They are light to dark grey or brown with distinct hairs. Larvae grow up to 13mm long and creamy yellowish-white to grey with a brown head tucked back into the thorax and black mouthparts. They are legless and have two sub lateral longitudinal grooves along the length of the body. Further information, call us at the office or our consulting agronomist, Roger Garnsey 0429 625880.

 

TIME TO CONTROL AFRICAN LOVEGRASS, CHILEAN NEEDLE GRASS & SERRATED TUSSOCK:
First Published August 2015

With August approaching, now is an ideal time to start thinking about control of perennial grass weeds in the Braidwood area, such as African Lovegrass, Chilean needle grass & Serrated tussock. Identification of these species can be tricky, especially when vegetative, so if in doubt, please give me a call to arrange an on-farm inspection. Whilst very difference in appearance, these three perennial grass weeds have similar weaknesses in their armour which provide graziers with an opportunity to get the upper hand.
Control options:
Attacking African Lovegrass, Chilean needle grass or Serrated tussock by implementing a range of strategies, rather than one single ‘silver bullet’, will provide the best outcome. Each of these grass weeds are successful as they produce large amounts of persistent seed reserves. They are also unpalatable to livestock & very drought hardy. However, as a young seedling, these weeds are slow establish in the first 6 weeks. Seedlings will also fail to germinate in deep litter. Based on this important weakness in these plants, the following strategies can be employed to contain its spread onto your property:

  1. Maintain ground cover. Overgrazing pastures & exposing bare will provide an opportunity for these weeds to colonise your pasture;
  2. Competition from desirable pasture species: by maintaining optimum soil fertility through judicious fertilizer use. Soil test paddocks to determine your fertilizer requirements, especially if it’s been a few years since you’ve collected comprehensive soil tests from the property. You may be surprised what you find!!
  3. Selective control options: Where African Lovegrass, Chilean needle grass or Serrated tussock is the dominant species in the paddock, replace it with more productive species. This will mean implementing a systematic plan to remove these weeds & preventing them from seeding for 2-3 years (e.g. through cereal/summer cropping) before sowing a perennial, competitive pasture.

Where African Lovegrass, Chilean needle grass or Serrated tussock is not dominant, but scattered over the paddock & beyond a spot spraying job, consider selective control of these weeds, through judicious use of the herbicide, flupropanate. This is now available in a liquid & granular form. The use of these flupropanate should be carefully considered as this is a residual herbicide that if over used can cause severe off target damage to desirable species. The good news about granular flupropanate is that it is proving to be less damaging to desirable pasture species (particularly the native perennial grasses) at low rates. Application is typically applied by helicopter & a spraying program is about to start in the local region in August.
For further information on control of African Lovegrass, Chilean needle grass or Serrated tussock, or if you are interested in use of granular flupropanate by helicopter this season, please contact Landmark’s consulting agronomist, Roger Garnsey on 0429 625880.

UPDATE ON LOVELAND PRODUCTS

First Published August 2014

Following the release of the Loveland range of products through the Landmark network, several of the products, designed to boost the pasture/crop growth, have been tested in 2013 & 2014 at Braidwood. Details on the products tested are summarized below.
Awaken:
Awaken is a nutritional product (containing 16% Nitrogen & 2% Potassium + chelated micronutrients) designed to improve the vigour & yield performance of crops. Awaken has been shown to improve early growth & vigour in the plant (hence the name), producing a more fibrous & extensive root system. As the name suggests, application of Awaken should occur in the early stages of growth i.e up to mid tillering stage in grasses & cereals, or 4-6 leaf stage in broadleaf crops.
NutriSync M & NutriSync D:
The NutriSync products (NutriSync M for monocots for grasses & NutriSync D for dicots or broadleafs) are nutritional liquids designed to enhance plant physiological activities & growth of crops/pastures by improving the uptake & utilisation of nutrients. This is achieved through ‘Inositol’ technology, which remobilises nutrients that are in the plant & redistributes them to critical areas of need. It contains a small amount of Nitrogen as well as the following critical nutrients for plant function:
·        2 % Potassium: regulates sugars, carbohydrate production & storage. Potassium is often in low quantities in the soils around Braidwood;
·        0.02% Boron: required for translocation of sugars, regulates cell division, salt absorption, flowering, fruiting, hormone movement, pollen germination, carbohydrate metabolism, water use & nitrogen assimilation in plants. Boron is often in low quantities in the soils around Braidwood;
·        0.3% Manganese: aids in nitrate & chlorophyll assimilation. Processing of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis.
·        0.07 % Zinc: governs cell wall integrity & is a main contributor to auxin production. Aids in protein synthesis & consumption & regulation of sugars. Plays a role in chlorophyll formation.
Maximum N-Pact
Maximum N-Pact is a foliar applied Nitrogen source, containing 24% Nitrogen which is stable (less prone to losses through leaching or gas formation) & highly compatible. The benefits of Maximum N-Pact include:
·        Increased uptake – 29% better absorption rate than Nitrate Nitrogen;
·        Improved translocation in the plant – 44% better translaminar activity than Nitrate Nitrogen;
·        Reduced volatility & excellent crop safety;
·        Highly compatible – can be applied with fungicides/insecticides
Black label Zinc
Black Label Zn contains 6% Nitrogen, 20% Phosphorus & 0.77% Zinc, designed to protect phosphate tie-up in the soil & reduce Nitrogen loss.
Foundation
Foundation is a fertilizer catalyst which mineralizes nutrient sources to increase nutrient availability. It enhances root growth & improves nutrient/water uptake in the plant.

Trial work results:
Demonstration trials have been established in 2013 & 2014 at properties in the Braidwood area. Several treatments were applied to Italian ryegrass & established perennial pastures (containing phalaris, cocksfoot, fescue & clovers) & dry matter cuts collected to determine if a significant effect could be recorded against the untreated/control plot. In summary, the following effects were observed from these demonstration trials over two years:

Year Pasture type Treatment Extra winter dry matter
2013 Perennial pasture Maximum N Pact & Nutrisync M 110%
Maximum N Pact & Gala growth regulator 56%
2014 Perennial pasture 1st cut: 3 weeks after application Black label Zinc & Gala growth regulator 67%
Maximum NPact & Foundation LM 25%
Perennial pasture 2nd cut: 6 weeks after application UAN (liquid Nitrogen) & Gala growth regulator 108%
Italian ryegrass (one cut only) Maximum NPact 13%
Awaken + Gala growth regulator 40%

In short, the demonstration trials have shown that the Loveland products have the capacity to increase winter dry matter production in the Braidwood area at very low cost. Further investigation into these products will be undertaken, however these initial results from demonstration plots (combined with local farmer experiences) are encouraging.
Keep an eye out for further information on this exciting new range of liquid products this year. We will be presenting results from local demonstration trials at our spring field day.

 

THE PERFORMANCE OF ALTERNATIVE FERTILISERS COMPARED TO SINGLE SUPER
First Published August 2012

The performance of alternative fertilisers compared to more traditional fertilisers (such as Single Superphosphate) is often keenly debated in agricultural circles. It is therefore exciting to report that an independent assessment of a range of fertilizer products has recently been conducted by Fiona Leech of NSW DPI, Yass. The replicated trial began in 2009, covering nine fertiliser treatments, including Single Superphosphate, Agri-ash, Trio-min/Eco-min Balance, pig manure, Groundswell compost, YLAD Compost Mineral Blend, YLAD Bio TX 500 Compost tea extract, BioAg Blend & Ecology Fluid Fertiliser. Products were topdressed onto native perennial/clover pastures, in accordance with directions from each fertilizer company involved in the trail; some products were applied annually, whilst others were applied every three years (e.g. Agri-ash, pig manure, Groundswell compost). The project sites consisted of three native perennial pasture sites in the Binalong & Bookham areas of the southern Tablelands of NSW. Spring pasture herbage mass & soil nutrient measurements were collected over three years (2009, 2010 & 2011).
Dry matter responses:
Statistical analysis of the spring herbage mass showed the following major trends:
1. Products that delivered substantial amounts of Phosphorus & Sulphur produced the most amount of spring feed. This included Single Superphosphate, Agri-ash, pig manure, YLAD Compost mineral blend and, to a lesser extent BioAg Blend & Ecology Fluid Fertiliser. Trio-min/Eco-min Balance, Groundswell compost & YLAD Compost tea did not significantly increase spring herbage mass over the control.
2. Of the fertilizer products that consistently increased spring herbage mass over the three years, Single Superphosphate, Agri-ash & pig manure were the most cost effective; the cost of YLAD Compost mineral blend was 2-7 times more for the additional pasture grown.
Soil nutrient status:
The application of the various fertilizer treatments did not reveal a clear relationship between increases in pasture production & soil nutrient levels. In summary:
1. soil Phosphorus (P) levels were increased significantly by Single superphosphate at one site, whilst pig manure & Agri-ash increased P levels at 2 of the 3 sites at various times during the trial. This soil nutrient response is to be expected due to the high quantities of P applied with Agri-ash (around 30 kg soluble P/ha + 100 kg insoluble P/ha) & pig manure (40 kg total P/ha) compared to the other treatments (e.g. Single Superphosphate supplies 10 kg soluble P/ha).
2. Fertiliser products containing lime (i.e. Agri-ash, YLAD compost mineral blend & BioAg blend) increased soil pH & lowered Aluminium% as expected.
Effects on soil biological activity
None of the fertilizer products applied had a significant effect on soil biology levels measured over the three years of the trial.
It is expected that this valuable, independent trial is expected to be ongoing for the next two years. Full details of the experimental trial results are available from the Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of The Grassland Society of NSW (2012).
For further information on the most appropriate fertilizer choice for your situation, contact Landmark Daniel Walker to arrange an appointment with their consulting agronomist, Roger Garnsey.

 

 

BIOAG FERTILISER: A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE OPTION FOR TOPDRESSING PASTURES

First Published August 2013

BioAg, based at Narrandera in the Riverina, produces a range of rock Phosphate & liquid fertiliser products for the agricultural market. Of particular relevance to the Braidwood area are two products, BioAg Superb & BioAgPhosS10, which offer a viable, cost effective alternative to Single Superphosphate for topdressing pastures. The advantages of each of these products are outlined below:
BioAg Superb
Table 1: The comparison of Single Superphosphate and BioAg products

Nutrient Single Superphosphate BioAg Superb BioAg Superb
Phosphorus 8.8 8 11
Calcium 20 27 32
Sulphur 11 5 10

BioAg Super is a blend of BioAgPhos (a reactive phosphate rock that has been treated with a microbial culture to increase solubility) & gypsum, resulting in an analysis comparable to Single Super (refer Table 1). Unlike conventional fertilisers, BioAg Superb provides an immediate & slowly available source of plant-available Phosphorus, as well as Sulphur for clover growth. It is not water soluble so it is not leached or ‘locked up’ as readily as conventional fertilisers. Around a third of the 8% Phosphorus in BioAg Superb is immediately available for plant use, whilst the remainder is slowly digested by soil microbes. This product is not granulated & needs to be applied using a belt spreader.
BioAgPhos S10
BioAgphos S10 comprises 90% BioAgPhos & 10% elemental Sulphur. However, the Sulphur is treated with microbes for rapid digestion & improved plant availability. As a result, this product is ideally suited to soils low in both Phosphorus & Sulphur. With the recent heavy rain in the Braidwood district, it reinforces the advantages of having a product containing Sulphur that will not readily leach, such as BioAgPhos S10.
Field trials demonstrate the value of rock phosphate products
Trial work on these rock phosphate products is encouraging – an 8 year trial conducted by NSW DPI near Orange showed a greater pasture response from using rock phosphate products compared to Single Super. These rock phosphate products work best under high rainfall, acid soil conditions – an ideal fit for the Braidwood area. Further work is currently being conducted on alternative fertilsers, including BioAg, by NSW DPI at Yass – initial results are encouraging, however the trial is expected to continue for another 3 years which will provide sound data on the performance of alternative fertilisers locally. For further information on these exciting new range of fertiliser products, call Roger Garnsey or Richard Walker at Landmark Daniel Walker.