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FertAg solution tempts Aussie farmers

December, 2016
Aussie farmers are rating an imported fertiliser product FertAg 0-8-0 as an affordable agent for good pasture, crops and healthy livestock.
They’re not quite ready yet to swear by the Vietnamese product, but trials so far have seen improved pasture growth and gains made against costly setbacks like milk fever and grass tetany.
Wangaratta beef farmer Brett Goodwin gave FertAg 0-8-0 a trial because it was a superior product to straight super, profoundly reducing phosphate loss through leaching and suitable for organic as well as conventional farms.

After a 12-month initial trial, Brett also found that FertAg 0-8-0 could help save the lives of his cattle from the scourge of grass tetany and milk fever.
Last year he used FertAg 0-8-0 on his 142-hectare property at Tarrawingee in North East Victoria, adjacent to a paddock where he applied straight super.
“I ran a trial for 12 months, and five cattle died next door using straight super, but in the adjacent paddock using FertAg 0-8-0 there were no losses,” he said.
Walcha farmers Bevan Latham and his brother Brian have a keen eye for good quality fertilizer at a good price.

“My brother used 20 tons over two years at his farm at Mullumbimby, inland from Byron Bay, and he put me on to it because I was using an equivalent product already.
He said he put 16 tons on the main 62 hectares and further 4 tons on another 14 hectares. “My brother has used FertAg for a longer period and he says he gets good clover cover. This I think is due to the highly available silicon (11%), calcium (24%) and magnesium (10%) also in the product.”

At his 200 hectare farm in Mullumbimby Brian Latham has notched up two years with FertAg 0-8-0 and gets more clover and longer lasting pasture.
“I have put 10 ton on a year for the past two years and already there are good signs,” Brian says. “What interested me were the nutrients like silica, calcium and magnesium. One advantage is that it starts on the soil where the acidity is higher and that’s a good thing,” he said.

Victorian fertiliser retailer Graeme Joyce of Alternative Growing Solutions has witnessed first hand a movement among farms towards FertAg 0-8-0.
He says he gets good feedback from farmers after selling the fertiliser 12 months. “We have sold FertAg for use on pasture, crops, golf courses, orchards and on native plants,” Graeme says.
“Farmers say FertAg creates a better quality pasture plus higher volumes, so they are getting a better return. We generally move between 12 to 15 tons of FertAg a month,” he said.

Graeme says FertAg offers a sustainable source of key nutrients over short lived single super or lime. “FertAg will last longer in the paddock than single super, which washes out after 3 to 4 months. FertAg is still there after 18 months,” he said.

The product acts as a soil amendment as well as fertilizer providing phosphate, which is 95 per cent available, and calcium silicates to sweeten pastures and improve CEC (cation exchange capacity).

Dorrigo farmers Ian Cork and Mike Tyler in NSW believe they have found an answer to the high acidic soil and reduced fertility problems in their region.
Ian Cork runs beef and dairy cattle as well, on almost 300 hectares and says he likes the idea of a fertiliser and soil amendment such as FertAg 0-8-0 tackling the high acidity as well as adding nutrient.

“The magnesium and calcium in FertAg 0-8-0 saves me having to use lime as an extra cost,” Ian says. “I bought 4 tons last year and 22 tons this year, with good results for Sorghum. It is cost competitive. “FertAg is a slow release fertilizer and has a good blend of nutrients for soil conditioning and that is good for a place like Dorrigo,” he said
“Obviously the slow release magnesium will help because a magnesium deficiency in the soil will lead to problems like milk fever and grass tetany.

Sebago potato farmer Mike Tyler says he has used 24 tons over the past year on his 450-hectare farm and so far so good, especially given the cheaper price.
“The silica and magnesium helps with grass tetany. I have been using it on soil with lower pH and the grass is responding well. Better than single super,” Mike says. “With heavy rain FertAg stays in the ground and doesn’t wash away. It’s not water soluble like single super, which is gone after a storm. We are using it for corn and silage, and before we sow pasture for regenerating.”

FertAg has obtained exclusive Australian/New Zealand distribution rights from an Asian supplier to provide up to 50,000 tons a year of a specialty high-grade phosphate product that can be used by organic and conventional farmers. The environmentally friendly product reduces phosphate loss through leaching by up to 13 times less than for soluble phosphate sources and is suitable for use in organic agriculture.

More information – Les Szonyi 0418158185