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Revving up livestock and cropping pastures with organic matter - Nitrohumus® compost Cliff Kelly and his son Stuart run a mixed livestock and cropping operation on “Ferndale” near Newbridge in the Central Tablelands. They have been using ANL’s Nitrohumus® compost on their grazing oats paddocks for a number of years and plan to keep on using it. “The oats look robust and really respond to the Nitrohumus® compost. We would prefer to use more organic fertilizers in preference to synthetic where possible, or a combination of organic and synthetic fertilizers. Nile oats sown in February 2013 was two feet high at six weeks. The lambs we finish on the oats just do well and seem to be a lot more consistent.”

An added pleasant surprise came at harvest time. Mr Kelly locked the oats up after grazing to let it recover so that he can obtain some seed for the next years sowing. When the grader came to clean the seed he usually gets a bag weight of 38 to 40kgs of graded oats, and you have a very full bag at 40kgs. This year despite the very dry finish the grader operator was consistently getting bag weights up to 45kg. “And you could see the seeds were just plump”, said Cliff.

Fernleigh farm pasture top dressed with Nitrohumus® compost

A 10 year old Lucerne pasture on Ferndale farm that has been top dressed with Nitrohumus® compost

The pleasing aspect for the Kellys’ was the continued benefit the livestock and cropping pastures gained from the Nitrohumus® compost. According to Mr Kelly, “a four year old pasture responded very well to Nitrohumus®, producing some of the heaviest cross-bred lambs at marking time that we have ever had.”

The economics of using Nitrohumus® compost is also a factor for Cliff, as they can spread it themselves and he also liked the fact that Nitrohumus® compost has a liming effect so he didn’t have to spend more time and money to control his pH levels. “Nitrohumus® compost compares extremely well considering the total benefit,” said Cliff.

Nitrohumus® is ANL’s flagship broadacre compost product. With production facilities at Blayney, Badgery’s Creek, and Cooranbong. Producing over 500,000 tonnes of compost each year ANL can lay claim to being one of, if not the biggest compost producer in Australia.

And size does have its advantages. Not only in being able to provide a competitively priced high quality and consistent product, but also in the company’s ability to cater for consumers across a broad geographic area. Jason White, the manager at ANL’s Blayney depot ‘Long Hill’, says “By being a full time, 24/7 production facility our ability to produce large volumes of high quality consistent product is never compromised.”

On site at Long Hill are enormous stockpiles of garden waste awaiting processing, a testament to the scale of ANL’s operations and their commitment to the composting industry. “We have between 20 to 30,000 tons of compost being produced at any one time.” Says Jason “Because we are a full time composting facility the natural microbiology needed for an efficient composting process are always in abundance, so we can compost course greenwaste mulch to a beautiful fine composted product full of Microbes and organic matter, meeting AS4454 standards, in about 8 weeks.”

Long Hill Compost production facility

Scarab turning the windrows at ANL's Long Hill compost production facility

Once the material is in the windrows the temperature is monitored to ensure it achieves the appropriate heat levels and the windrows are turned each week by a purpose built self propelled Scarab. According to Jason, “with over 20 years of composting experience and our proven windrow management at ANL we know that the product we supply will be biologically active and free from any weed seeds or harmful pathogens, so our clients now they can use it with confidence.”

For improved dry matter production on tablelands pastures, Nitrohumus® compost is the product recommended by ANL’s broadacre agronomist Roger Crisp. Roger is based in Orange and services clients in the central tablelands, southern tablelands and Hunter valley regions. “Many producers are seeing reduced results from their conventional synthetic fertiliser applications. This can be a result of a number of contributing factors including the depletion over time of micro and macro nutrients in the soil, the detrimental effects on soil biology of continual use of synthetic fertilisers, or reduced organic matter in the soils, a vital component of the whole nutrient cycle.”

Tara farm paddock nitrohumus compost

Nitrohumus® compost applied to the paddock on the right

According to Mr Crisp, by using Nitrohumus® compost on livestock and cropping pastures, graziers are able to provide a comprehensive source of micro nutrients (Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum, Zinc, Boron, Copper) and macro nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulphur) that are essential for strong healthy pastures. In addition Nitrohumus® is a microbial and humus rich product that will enhance existing soil microbes in the soil, and can improve soil nutrient mobility and availability.

Dry matter production isn’t just about putting the right nutrients in the paddock at the right time, but also about ensuring these nutrients are mobile so they can be transported to your plant. If you have a micro nutrient deficiency then other vital nutrients can be locked up and unavailable to the plant, which is one big advantage of a comprehensive nutrient source such as Nitrohumus® compost. Just as importantly if you have a soil with low organic matter then this corresponds to low microbial levels and microbes are a vital transporter of nutrients in the soil to your plant, and with more than 45% organic matter by using Nitrohumus you really can achieve the important 3 key management principles of healthy soils, Nutrients, Structure and Life.

To achieve the best result from the addition of broadcast nutrients, rainfall after application is ideal, but this isn’t always manageable. According to Roger “You can apply Nitrohumus® compost at any time of year and the high organic matter content of the product will protect the nutrients to a certain extent until they are needed by the plant. However the application of compost just prior to the key growing periods of autumn and spring will usually provide the best results.”

Before and after rainfall on a farm in the Barrington Tops

The processing facility at Blayney conducts regular nutrient monitoring of the Nitrohumus® compost before it is sent to farms. “This nutrient monitoring means our clients can have confidence in the product and we know that the truck load we sent out last week will be as good as the one that goes next week and the week after that” says Roger.

To find how Nitrohumus® compost can benefit the livestock and cropping pastures on your farm, contact Roger Crisp on 0438 269 027.