The Department of Agricultural and Food’s,
Whole Farm Nutrient Mapping project is helping livestock producers make better informed fertiliser decisions. Evidence distilled from representative soil samples, critical nutrient levels and productivity targets guides the fertiliser rates specific to each paddock. The feedback we’ve had from all of the livestock producers so far has been really positive. Well we first got involved in the 80’s, with the Ag department at the time were doing
free soil testing and the results from there were very positive for us and when the Ag department approached us again in 2010, wanting to know whether we wanted to be involved again, we were quite happy with that, we agreed and that’s were we are at the moment. The mapping makes it extremely easy for us to go from paddock to paddock, and give different
rates of application, which is obviously important because you don’t want to be over applying where you don’t need it and under-applying where it does need it, and that’s one of the big benefits of it. We’re very happy with the colour-coding of
the map, very simple very quick to comprehend what’s required, where the paddocks are at,
compared to that older system of looking at an A4 sheet of a lot of numbers which can
be a little boring and little confusing. So very impressed with the maps. The results shown that we were putting on excessive amounts of phosphate and that our pH levels were good, which were very happy with because we were putting on ten tonne to the hectare over the last 10 years, over the whole property and it raised the pH from
four-point whatever to five and a half to six. So we’re very happy with that. It has allowed us to reduce our lime spreading I suppose,
to maintenance level rather than trying to build up the pH, so we now know that we only
have to put on half the lime at the most, per hectare, to just maintain the pH levels
that they are now. So that’s another saving, yes Definitely huge saving to us where we’ve been able to purchase, say more accurate super
spreader, but also to, on the wider aspect of it I guess if there is less phosphates
going out into the estuary that obviously a bonus. With our farming enterprise, we really are very appreciative from the testing that we
have had done, to the Ag department and we certainly wouldn’t have done as much
testing ourselves. No! We are very appreciative of the offer. The fertiliser bill for the Birch’s farm was
previously about $20,000 a year and having been involved in the Whole Farm Nutrient Mapping it
has saved Ally and John nearly $9000. Part of the money that had been saved was spent
on lime, through targeted applications. Because every property has different requirements where some are deficient in potash or require lime to correct acidity the Whole Farm Nutrient
Mapping project allows you to make informed decisions which can only be made through soil testing.