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FertAg tames African lovegrass

September, 2017
Tenterfield farmer Paul Donnelly knows all about the invasive plant African lovegrass. He has found that pasture treated with FertAg 0-8-0 will change the feed value making it more attractive for stock.

Running about 30 head of beef cattle and some goats on 85 hectares, as well as growing Lucerne, hay and clover, Paul is impressed with the amount of preferential grazing on these treated areas.

Last April, after reading about the fertilizer in a magazine, Paul bought three tonnes of FertAg 0-8-0 from NORCO Tenterfield store and spread it on a paddock at 250 kg per hectare.

“I stress the jury is still out but the cattle seem to have a brighter coat and there has been no need to drench,” he said. He can see FertAg 0-8-0 is making the grass sweeter, because cattle are now eating the lovegrass, and, other good grass is coming through.

“I can see how the cattle are “flogging” the lovegrass. I put some molasses blocks in a corner of the paddock. The cattle usually take a week to consume them. This time the blocks were still there after two weeks. “I have also noticed that cattle are hungrier and need extra feed when not eating lovegrass sweetened by FertAg 0-8-0.”

While farmers down south in Southern NSW and Victoria have enlisted FertAg 0-8-0 in the battle against milk fever and grass tetany, in South East Queensland and Northern NSW African lovegrass is a major issue.

It can quickly overtake sparse, overgrazed or poor quality pastures, particularly in sandy soils. “Based on the success of the trial with FertAg 0-8-0 I plan to buy 5 tonnes and do another 20 hectares of paddocks overrun with Lovegrass,” Paul says. “African lovegrass is an absolute problem everywhere up here. Farmers try to burn it but it burns very hot and is hard to put out. Cattle don’t seem to eat it, although they will when it is short. But, it grows so fast and gets away so easily.
“The cattle seem to like it when young, and African lovegrass thrives on acidic soil.”

Part of the secret is the calcium silicates in the product, which sweetens the plant, plus FertAg 0-8-0 retains moisture and nutrient in the root zone.
“It is very expensive to spray chemicals to fight the lovegrass and replant. Now we’re told about unsafe practices using chemical poisons so we shouldn’t be using it. This is why FertAg 0-8-0 can help. It is environmentally friendly, does not leach away and has recently been certified by ACO as an allowable input for organic agriculture”, Paul says.

Paul said he’s been on the land all his working life – “I plan to farm for a few years yet, with my Kelpie cross dog Molly that rides with me everywhere on the tractor.

“After 15 months of using FertAg 0-8-0 I can say it definitely works and I think I can now get good feed out of my Lovegrass and bring it under control,” he said.