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  • Writer's pictureSoil Fertility Services

Newsletter - Issue No. 70

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

The Queen is Dead - Long live the King!

I know its all been said and a belly full is enough, but she really was an extraordinary person.


I have seen her driving around Sandringham in a fairly old Land Rover; often not really looking where she is going, being more interested in looking at the horses in the paddocks.


She once almost collided with my son just up the road from Anmer where the Royal Stud is. She was all over the road and Jon had to move on to the grass verge; she saw him gave one of her amazing smiles, waved and drove on. That was a long time ago when I used to do a lot of work on their farms.


Charles is a country boy and he will be alright, I am not sure I would want that job at his age?

Sometimes you must wonder why you are in the Farming business; do people really want good food that is safe to eat, or is it simply the lowest cost, no matter what or where it comes from? Does this - or any Government, really understand, or care about our food quality? They seem more concerned about ‘greening’ and taking land out of production!


We have many large Bio-fuel producers, growing thousands of acres of Maize and other crops, for producing methane to power generators to produce electricity for the grid. We have done some dubious deals with Australia and New Zealand, to bring in some cheap lamb that does not meet the production standards we in the UK have to; all in all a crazy time to be in the farming business.

Robert

 

Our good news is, our Biological Programme is working, helping to keep costs down and it has little or no carbon footprint!

If you have not booked your product yet, I suggest you do so now - we will run out! Phone: 01366 384899

 
  • Bio-N - For Nitrogen in the Spring and summer

  • Bio-K - For Potassium in Spring as required

Other products that may be of interest include:

  • Humic SC / SCG - Soil conditioner that frees up Phosphate and combats water-logging and compaction

  • Mega-Fos - Will wake up the crop in early spring

We do recommend an early Nitrogen in February/March, to get the crop growing, around 50 kg/ha will do. Foliar applications of Sulphate based products might be necessary.


Unfortunately we can only make a finite amount of these products,

you DO need to RESERVE your order ASAP

 

Potash

For 1999 Cereals Event, I published a press release that did not go down well with the fertiliser society, this was taken from an article published in a book by Dr Arden Anderson. I have recently checked it and he is pretty much right. The article is enclosed with this newsletter, have a read and see what YOU think:


Could Muriate of Potash Be Killing Your Soil?

Now we have an alternative… We have for some time been concerned about the health of our soils, when I re-read this recently, it made me more determined to come up with an alternative, - hence the ‘Potash releasing’ - Bio-K.

The Bio-K includes a particular strain of beneficial bacterium that can break the bonds that hold Potassium in the soil and puts it in the root zone for your plants to use - as required.

There has been a lot of research done on this, but because Potash was so plentiful and relatively low cost, nobody bothered with the alternatives and I would not expect the Potash Development Agency to be of much help.

These beneficial micro-organisms are what we call ‘free-living’ and will be fed from the sugars secreted into the soil from your plant roots, releasing the hard to get ‘locked up Potassium, directly where your plants can take it up.

We are supplying them in their billions, with a food source to get them established. It is magic - except it isn’t…

Its science and its Bio-Logical.

Phosphate has gone crazy and DAP for instance is just not worth using, You have around 6,000kg of P2O5 in the top 10 cm (4”) of your soil; we have a specific range of bugs that can break the structure, to allow your plant roots to access your own Phosphate and you have another 12,000kg or more in the next 8 inches of your soil.

It is possible to test for this if you want to.

 

BetterGrass

Better Grass in bags is very limited now and expensive - not only to make but to deliver it too. The liquid version is much better value and will be available early Spring 2023. Once again, please do get yours booked. The reason for this early ordering is because we have to plan and commit to some VERY expensive materials. You don’t have to take it, just give us your order, so we can plan ahead.

So what are the advantages of the liquid BetterGrass? Well it supplies the essential trace minerals very efficiently, it is easy to apply, as long as you do have a sprayer or can access one?

It will go through normal sprayer nozzles (when we first started we did have some problems with clogging up but that is all sorted now). One of the other advantages is that the special biology we include in the BetterGrass Xtra, can adjust the soil pH in the rooting zone of your soil, by around .5, ie 5.6 to 6.1

It will not stay there and it is not supplying Calcium, however you may not need Calcium; the soil analysis will tell us and we can advise. Analysis of your grass or silage will indicate which is the best product for you to use, we can add extra minerals if required.

Now is coming up time, as you open the clamps, to take those samples and we will get them analysed. One of the advantages of the dry product is the inclusion of the Sodium; this helps to improve the palatability of the grass, but the liquid BetterGrass also improves palatability by increasing the Phosphate uptake and this also sweetens the grass.

One of the detriments of the salt is on the soil, where it causes the soil to lose its structure, deflocculates and will compact more easily, plus it is harmful to our beneficial life in soil, after all it has powerful anti bacterial properties.

We have found it difficult to transport the big bags and bulk orders, with haulage costs over £50 a tonne and in a few cases nearer to £100, plus the products required to make it are just too expensive.

We only have couple


of hundred grassland customers and we do appreciate your business and will do all we can to help you to grow ‘better grass’. So please use the BetterGrass liquid and get it booked early; we can amend the product to suit after we have your forage sample results back.

The Royal Welsh show seems a long time ago and it was good to meet several of our


friends. Although it was pretty quiet compared to previous years, may be Covid roll-over or just the fact that it was VERY hot.

Above: Silage samples taken from the same field, 4 years apart.

The aim is to have the minerals IN BALANCE. If everything is either high or low, then at least they are in balance and we can work with that. The samples here show that there were some high levels (in blue) on the first sample, but overall it was a good result.

4 years later and again it is a good result; the Potassium and Sodium have moved slightly and we have corrected the Selenium. We would be looking for a balance around the white lines. BetterGrass has been used on the farm for 10+ years.

 

Jungle Drums...

What’s it going to take for you to pick up the phone and give Biological Farming a good go? Some of you have been getting our newsletter for years and years and it surprises me that after all this time some still haven’t tried. Why?


What’s stopping you?

Many of you will already know a ‘Regen’ farmer that’s cut back on his fertiliser inputs, reducing tillage, putting in cover crops and making their own compost. You will also know the agronomist that says: “Oh, it won’t work on your farm…” Or “You’ll run your soils down”, and still says: “There’s no trial data to support this way of farming!” So who should you believe?

I’ll tell you what I think… Around a year ago, when Nitrogen started going up in price, the phones started ringing here with enquiries about our Bio-N. I spent time on phone call after phone call, explaining how these microbes took Nitrogen out of the air that’s already in the soil and made it available to the crop, meaning they could use less Nitrogen; regularly with the conversation ending with: “Oh well, I’ll give it a go.” For many, Bio-N was purely a financial decision compounded by higher Nitrogen prices and it’s limited availability at the time.


12 months on and those same people have already pre-booked their Bio-N for the 2023 season why?

Because It Worked!!


Bio-N is a natural product and as such, is subject to variations - much like an Olympic athlete who runs the 100 meters and due to other influential factors (wind speed, temp, energy levels and fitness), no two races will ever be identical.

Once you understand that Biological Farming deals with multiple natural variables, you will begin to comprehend the complex ecosystem that we are trying to manipulate. You will know if you’ve ever had one of our soil tests done, just how difficult they can be to interpret but understand this, in a laboratory, there is more than one way to measure the various elements, these are called extraction methods.

Our analysis considers multiple methods for a more balanced interpretation of the soil. Unfortunately, RB209 - the Nutrient Management Guide, from Defra, does not entertain these ‘other methods’, regularly leading its followers to a more blinkered approach to soil and crop management.

The best advice I can give you is, talk to someone that’s already farming Biologically and get their take on the good the bad and the ugly. It’s ok to have reservations and questions, you certainly won’t be the first. So, are you going to listen to the drums or are you going to beat them?

Steve

 

Bacillus subtilis

Just one of our army of beneficial bacterium:

  • Promotes healthy plant growth

  • Adapts to various environmental conditions

  • Performs as a microbial pesticide

  • Increases fertiliser efficiency

  • Antagonistic toward multiple plant pathogens

  • Encourages a plant’s natural systemic resistance

  • Produces antibacterial substances

  • Induces the plant’s own disease-fighting potential

  • Improves soil condition

  • Decomposes remains into available nitrogen

  • Frees up soil nutrients including N&P

 

Aunt Aggie she say: Tha’ Queenie Liz was a good ‘ole gal giving me a smile an’ a wave at Sandrin’ham Granfa he say:

Yis bor, you an’ the rest o’ tha silly mawthers tha’ hent got nowt else to do.

 

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