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Down and Dirty

The Future is in Liquid Fertilisers

Thursday, February 09, 2012
An article in Stock and Land Newspaper:

YLAD Living Soils have just launched the new TE250 Tea Extraction Unit in Australia.   YLAD, a solely owned Australian family business is well known for assisting farmers become self reliant on producing their own fertiliser requirements, in real terms this has to be the future for farmers who are looking to become more environmentally aware.

A three year trial run by an independent company has shown that the liquid humus compost tea, Bio TX500, produced from the big-brother of the TE250 the TE500 was not only more economical but also more sustainable then the control of 80kg MAP/ha. The smaller unit is going to allow more farmers purchase the TE250 for on farm extracting of humus compost tea.

Trial results showed that the liquid injection treatment (T2), which had only 100L Bio TX500 applied at sowing, returned the second highest gross margin/ha in 2007, and the highest gross margin in 2008 and 2009. The 2009 Bio TX treatment returned $830/ha compared to $798/ha for the controls of 80kg MAP. (gross profit – fertiliser costs).  

It must be remembered that the three years these trials were run were drought conditions when some people would say that microbial inoculums would not perform well.  The use of microbial inoculums as foliar, fertigation or liquid inject is growing in Australia and YLAD have the knowledge to assist you set up both on farm extracting as well as on-farm composting.

The BioTX500 can also be used very successfully as a Foliar fertiliser which is the practice of spraying a nutrient solution directly on the leaves of plants in order to boost their vigour so that they grow and produce better. Potentially this can improve the delivery of hard to access nutrients by factors ranging from ten-fold to more than a hundred-fold. 

Cereal grains respond brilliantly if the inputs, techniques, timing and circumstances coincide to boost the growth of the crop in its early to mid vegetative stages.

We the rising price of fertilisers it is important that farmers have other options, liquid fertility is one of these options which can be produced on farm very economically.

Living Soils Improve Wool Performance

Thursday, February 09, 2012
An excerpt from the Australia Wool Network Newsletter

AWN Network News thought it was time to revisit a couple we met four years ago.

Bill and Rhonda Daly run a mixed-farming operation on their property “Milgadara”, near Young in southern NSW. They run 5,000 Grogansworth-blood merino sheep, with that number maintained since our last visit. They also produce prime lambs, trade cattle and run a broad-acre farming operation.

On top of this they operate “YLAD Living Soils” from their property. The business is now in its seventh year of operation, going from strength-to-strength with a variety of new products. The focus of “YLAD Living Soils” is to provide a range of products and services that can restore the mineral and microbial balance in the soil. 

The natural products promote the activity of fungi and microbes in the soil, virtually eliminating the need for the use of artificial fertilisers, chemicals and pesticides. Rhonda Daly said the products created by “YLAD” are not only good for the “bottom line”, they are also good for the environment. “The word has spread because our business grew 100 per cent last year with clients spread across the length and breadth of the Australian mainland,” Mrs Daly said. 

New products including “Humified Compost”, “Compost Tea”, and the “Compost Turners”, which creates compost blends. These new products complement the blends and soil test kits the company has always produced and sold. 

Rhonda Daly said it all begins with the soil, no matter what enterprise you are in. The proof is in the pudding at “Milgadara”. “From a wool point-of-view, our records show an improvement in tensile strength and wool cuts since the adoption of biological products on our farm. We’ve had positive feedback from the wool trade regarding the “density” of our wool. This appears to be because of our improved pasture production, along with Grogansworth breeding/bloodline over the last 20 years,” Mrs Daly said.

The improvements have also flowed through to crop production on the Daly’s property. “Our performance is backed up by positive feedback from a growing band of satisfied clients,” she said. 

Bill and Rhonda regularly hold field days to discuss biological farming, often featuring guest speakers from around the world. They aim to hold an event in August. 

When we first featured “YLAD” in Network News, Bill and Rhonda offered to run workshops for smaller groups. That offer still stands for readers of Network News.

The Role of Soil in our Environment

Thursday, February 09, 2012
Since man has inhabited the earth the soil has been the medium in which to grow and produce food for himself and his animals.

Soils vary in fertility from country to country and region to region and it is well documented that healthy, fertile soils produce the most nutrient dense foods leading to a healthy immune system and healthy animals with high productivity and reproduction.

Australia has one of the oldest soils on earth with inherent acidity problems and regions of low fertility with only very small areas being used to produce our foods.  It is absolutely imperative that we care for this small amount of productive soils we still have left.

If we are to continue to till these soils consideration must be given to the type of fertiliser inputs and the impact they have on the soil, both chemically, physically and biologically.  It takes all three of these components to have a healthy, fertile soil while prime consideration must be given to enhancing the biological component, an area that has been disregarded in favour of soluble fertilisers.

The over emphasis on the N, P, K, approach has raised these levels, regrettably to the detriment of our soil structure, (excess Nitrogen burning out our organic carbon) and at the expense of the quality of water in the river systems.   The soil has not been regarded as a living breathing system responsible for the recycling and storing of nutrients, but merely a medium in which to stand a plant and feed it soluble fertilisers.

Biological agriculture takes into consideration the overall mineral balance required to grow healthy plants as well as the role of soil biota in improving soil structure and reducing disease, weeds and pests.  If our past practices had been a solution to our low soil fertility we would not have the problems with our river systems, disease, insects and pests and weeds that we have today.

It is now time that a balanced approach is used as a management tool to address the problems rather then hide behind short term fixes that then compound into greater problems.

Fortunately there are total biological programs available to balance the soil with fertilisers that will not harm our environment but build soil fertility, and produce the highest quality food possible. Biological farming is based on sound scientific principles and works to create fertile soils, which in turn create strong and healthy plants, animals and humans.

It combines the best of conventional and organic farming with an emphasis on attaining naturally productive soils that display a high level of biological activity.

The main purpose is to maximise the activity of soil micro-organisms through the provision of good soil nutrition and structure, together with adequate supplies of energy, air and water.

It is an environmentally responsible farming method which is becoming increasingly accepted by farmers worldwide who want to ensure the long-term productivity of their land, while growing better crops and reaping the profits.

Biological agriculture provides a unique approach to sustainable and profitable agriculture production through the use of biological farming techniques.

Farmers become inspired to face the challenges of contemporary farm management and face the future confidently knowing they have the answers to soil fertility and long term sustainability.

A definition of soil fertility that is inclusive of environmentally responsible land use considers the three components of soil fertility:  biological, physical and chemical activity.

Skilful biological/organic farmers have learnt how to solve their underlying (nutritional) problems and thus have reduced or removed their need to use costly inputs, especially agro-chemicals; these often only assist farmers in suppressing recurring symptoms of a sick farming system (e.g. disease, weeds, pests)  

‘Whatever you see that needs to be corrected you start taking care of it ’ Jim Rohn.  This certainly takes into account Australian Soils.