Complete soil test

Course details: This module is for a complete soil nutrients and physical factors test. It will be carried out by a third party lab Agvita in Devonport. Your mentor will work with you to interpret the results and develop a nutrition plan. Includes assistance with sampling and submitting sample (by negotiation depending on distance). Cost…

A pasture puzzle partly solved?

Its easy to get tied up with the day to day chores of a farm and it seems to be inevitable more so if you’re running a dairy farm! But sometimes its good to take a walk out on the farm without any particular job in mind just to see how things are going. This…

Farm soil testing – major nutrients

Up to now we’ve looked at some of the main physical factors in the soil at the Gembrook horse property. Now its time to look at the other main nutrients and the soil’s fertility. Soils have an ability to loosely hold nutrients to prevent leaching and to make them slowly available to plants. This applies…

Farm soil testing – acidity and phosphorus

In a previous blog entry, March 11 2014 I described some of the physical factors in a pasture soil in Gembrook that I had tested. The soil was very acidic with a very low proportion of fresh organic matter. Exchangeable acidity results from prolonged leaching of good nutrients from soils. The pool is considerable larger…

Sustainable farming – what is it?

Yesterday as a guest of Trevor and Anne-Marie Mills and the Western Port Catchment Landcare Network I attended a field day on the Mills’ dairy farm at Drouin South. Amongst the principles of sustainable agriculture are that farming should: – provide an amenable lifestyle for the farmer & family – protect and enhance the productive…

How can I improve the pasture on my farm?

A complete soil test is an important first step to help restore the productivity of pastures. Most soil tests provide a breakdown of major and minor plant nutrients but many also profile the soil’s overall health, potential and fertility. I was recently asked to visit a property in Gembrook east of Melbourne that was used…

Acidity and major nutrients in dairy farm soil

What is the connection between soil pH, acidity, nutrients and amount of lime required to raise the soil pH? When we think of soil acidity most people think of pH. But pH is a measure of active acidity which can be measured with a meter, test strips or indicator solution or powder. In simple terms…

How much phosphorus is in dairy farm soil?

How much phosphorus is there in farm soils? I’m in the process of carrying out a quick assessment of soils on a dairy farm in West Gippsland. Phosphorus use is an increasingly important topic from a $ cost as well as environmental perspective. In this study samples were taken from the same sites previously tested…

Organic matter in dairy farm pasture

The benefits of organic matter in soil are well known. Organic matter improves factors including water holding capacity, nutrient holding capacity and structure. But organic matter can be made up of more longer lasting humus through partially broken down material to fresh material from plants and animals that has recently entered the soil. This fresh…

A simple test for reactive soil organic matter.

Of all the factors that can be measured in soil, fresh, reactive or labile organic matter is one of the more important. Its a tool that can be used to monitor seasonal changes that depend on strategies like cover crops, composting and residue retention. This test can be valuable for home gardens, horticulture, pastures or…