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Farming and Agriculture Archive

Feb 6, 2024
Farming and Agriculture

Only a little – more is deadly

There are high levels of aluminium in most New Zealand soils and aluminium is like a man or woman with loose morals, quite happy to bond with other elements and in this case, very happy to hitch up to phosphate making it unavailable, just locked up in the soil. In technical terms, the product of phosphorus and aluminium creates a mineral called variscite. The naturally occurring variscite can be used for trinket-type jewellery but has no other apparent value. Interestingly, variscite in Latin terminology is uncountable, which really means the mineral is not easily made available for use. S…

Jan 30, 2024
Farming and Agriculture

Without sunshine, soil and water there is nothing

Much has been written in the previous two items number twenty-one and twenty-two, about heavy applications of phosphate fertiliser. In bygone years, it was credited as being the backbone of New Zealand agricultural production. But how much is enough and how much is too much? In 2005, Waikato Regional Council released a report titled, THE CONDITION OF RURAL SOIL AND WATER IN THE WAIKATO REGION – Sub heading RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES. This extensive report ran to fifty-four pages of detailed information about what is happening in our waterways, groundwater, our soils, and the effects of cha…

Jan 16, 2024

It all remains in the soil – super phosphate.

In that period our operations were entirely self-contained, it was never necessary to buy in extra feed or seek off farm grazing for our stock. However at times feed was bought in. Ha, a contradiction, not really, sometimes farmers have the season they dream about, it rains when required, the sun shines as required and with loads of feed the same farmers decide to put the surplus into hay to sell for extra income. Ha, again, when many farmers make this surplus hay, the price falls accordingly with the hay bales at rock bottom prices. My father was a canny trader and bought some of this hay,…

Jan 3, 2024
Farming and Agriculture

Zero result – a waste of time and money

For a time, we reverted to using the waste from the broiler chicken sheds. This worked fairly well. However, when employing milkers and other people on the farm, it is important to have them put their views forward and to take their views into consideration. At this time, we were constantly reminded in farming journals to get your Olsen P levels up to produce optimum pasture. Generally, any people employed wanted to see more and more phosphate poured on.    As a result, it was decided in 1991 to run yet another extensive experiment. One ton of super phosphate was collected in …

Dec 5, 2023
Farming and Agriculture

Heaven sent conditioner from Taupo eruption

We have established that a great blanket of mineralised soil arrived over the land we later farmed. This soil was identified as coming from the Taupo Eruption 1800 years ago and had been thrown or blown over 150km. An estimation puts the weight of soil at 1.3 to 1.7 tonnes per cubic metre. Taking 1.5 tonnes per cubic metre as an average, and in the compacted state on our property, this layer at 200 mm deep, every 5 square metres had 1.5 tonnes deposited on it. These are mind-bending figures because one hectare at 10,000 square metres received 2,000 tonnes. Our farm of two hundred hec…