soil test help

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8 years 11 months ago #39853 by neil postie
soil test help was created by neil postie
Hi all, hope winter isn't being to harsh on you. I have just had a soil and grass test done by Hills Labs and as I know zip about it would appreciate some help with the next step. i.e. what to do. I have talked to a fertiliser guy who obviously wants to cover the land in his products but an independent opinion or two would be of great help. We are in Waihi on Waihi ash with a good covering of topsoil. See attached jpg of the tests done. Hopefully they are readable

Attached files [IMG]http://app.lifestyleblock.co.nz/images/converted_files/515924=15694-plant test june 2015 A.jpg[/img] [IMG]http://app.lifestyleblock.co.nz/images/converted_files/515924=15695-plant test june 2015 B.jpg[/img] [IMG]http://app.lifestyleblock.co.nz/images/converted_files/515924=15697-soil test june 2015 A.jpg[/img] [IMG]http://app.lifestyleblock.co.nz/images/converted_files/515924=15696-soil test june 2015 B.jpg[/img]

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8 years 11 months ago #509163 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic soil test help
They're pretty small!

Do you know what the previous fertilizer/lime history is of your block?

I bet your guy us trying to sell you super phosphate.

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8 years 11 months ago #509166 by neil postie
Replied by neil postie on topic soil test help

Ruth;515928 wrote: They're pretty small!

Do you know what the previous fertilizer/lime history is of your block?

I bet your guy us trying to sell you super phosphate.

Hi
you can see the attached pictures by clicking on them to open on a new page, then holding down the Ctrl button while clicking the + button. this will enlarge them to a readable size
He was trying to sell lime with some other bits in it. I have nothing against super but don't see it as the first or best thing to do for either the soil or planet but it has its place in a well managed soil plan (which i don't have)

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8 years 11 months ago #509168 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic soil test help
What were the other bits? Lime is what you need.
I'm waiting, hedging my bets, seeing what anyone else has to say before I tell you what I think I can tell from your numbers.

I meant they're pretty small even doing all those things. I'm sight-impaired at present and struggle to read the numbers, expanded they go fuzzier! I'm technically competent, just can't see.

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8 years 11 months ago #509172 by kai
Replied by kai on topic soil test help
It looks like you have pretty good soil, but a little too acidic for most plants. I would be thinking of chucking some lime on there

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8 years 11 months ago #509175 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic soil test help
Did they also provide an ANIMAL DIETARY MINERAL BALANCE analysis?

What types of stock are you keeping?

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8 years 11 months ago #509176 by neil postie
Replied by neil postie on topic soil test help

Ruth;515941 wrote: Did they also provide an ANIMAL DIETARY MINERAL BALANCE analysis?

What types of stock are you keeping?

Hi again, Hw was selling Nitrosol but was of the opinion we should be adding lime at the same time. No 'ANIMAL DIETARY MINERAL BALANCE' (never heard of one). We are leasing the land to a local for his heffers. I can conatct you via your website and send better quality pictures if thats ok with you. BTW love the website, must be alot of work keeping it up to date but very satisfying

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8 years 11 months ago #509178 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic soil test help
We recently had soil tests done at Hills too with similar results and working with the Ravensdown advisor, the recommended dressing for us was 6T lime per hectare and 500kg Super phosphate per hectare

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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8 years 11 months ago #509179 by lisaeve
Replied by lisaeve on topic soil test help
As far as I understand: you have problems with acidity in some areas, and some problems with nitrogen and calcium and some trace elements.
If it were me, I'd add lime to the wetter acidic bits (you can see these areas quite easily on our place cos the creeping buttercup is taking over) and then on other areas, a product like environmental fertilisers' nanocal? but it's quite pricey. It does include some of the trace elements that you're missing though.

17 Ha lifestyle property in Bay of Plenty... 7 Ha covenanted bush, remainder scrub, hills, and flat.

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8 years 11 months ago #509184 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic soil test help

neil postie;515942 wrote: Hi again, He was selling Nitrosol but was of the opinion we should be adding lime at the same time. No 'ANIMAL DIETARY MINERAL BALANCE' (never heard of one). We are leasing the land to a local for his heifers. I can contact you via your website and send better quality pictures if that's ok with you. BTW love the website, must be a lot of work keeping it up to date but very satisfying

You'd have noticed I haven't quite managed to keep up to date! :D I've actually been doing a hell of a lot of study on soils and fertility, which has been utterly fascinating and absorbing.

I could see your numbers, just a bit of a strain for me poor eyes.

Did your guy want to add Selenium, Salt (Sodium), Copper and Cobalt? An Animal Dietary Mineral Balance comes out looking much the same graphically, but shows whether the elements in the pasture are meeting their daily requirements. Copper is tricky because it can be tied up by other things, but best it's there in the required quantities.

Otherwise, although your pH is getting near to where it ought to be, the Base Saturation level is low and the Calcium is lower than it ought to be. The Base Saturation of Ca (at the bottom of the soil pages) is only 31 and 33% and you really want it up at 50-75%, so lime is the answer to that.

Liming pulls the pH up, enhances the environment for the soil biology to function and thus the availability of a lot of elements. It would be interesting to see a Resin P result, which with the Olsen P can give a better overall picture of the P levels, although generally in fertilized NZ soils they're often a lot higher in terms of locked-up P, which would best be addressed by paying lots more attention to supporting the biology, rather than continually applying more P.

As for Super, I have always been suspicious and am now entirely anti. It's hydroponic farming!

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8 years 11 months ago #509186 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic soil test help

Ruth;515951 wrote:
As for Super, I have always been suspicious and am now entirely anti. It's hydroponic farming!

But only if you are waterlogged! :rolleyes:

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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8 years 11 months ago #509188 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic soil test help
Not entirely. It applies available phosphate/sulphate in quantities greater than the plants can take up at any time and the rest is either leached out of the soil if you're "unlucky" with the weather, or fixed in the soil so that it is no longer plant-available. I'm not suffiently au fait with the science to put up a really sound argument, but that is how I understand it at this point.

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8 years 11 months ago #509214 by Cigar
Replied by Cigar on topic soil test help
pH's aren't too bad, but a couple of tonne of lime per hectare wouldn't hurt.
Olsen P levels are reasonable too. A commercial drystock farm would want it a bit higher, and a dairy farm a lot higher (the optimum level depends on the $ return from each extra bit of grass grown), but for a lifestyle block it depends what you are doing on it.
Cobalt and selenium can be added to fertiliser, but I don't know if they can add it to lime. Cobalt is best applied in spring, so that it is in the pasture when it is needed by growing lambs and calves.

I wouldn't be putting any K on this year.

No sulphur test? Ash soils with a history of superphosphate application will generally have good S levels, so you can "mine" it for a few years, but at some point it will need to be applied again.

Once you have corrected any deficiencies, you want to apply a maintenance application of fertiliser each year, replacing what nutrients you remove/are lost.

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8 years 11 months ago #509217 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic soil test help
Nitrosol tried to convert me, but our soil is deficient in some of the major grass nutrients. To resolve those deficits with Nitrosol would have cost me four times as much as to use solid fertiliser.
I think that you only need lime at the moment, at between 2 and 4 tonnes per hectare. If your lime supply is 100%, which Takaka Hill lime is, then you need less than Pig Valley lime which is about 65%. But Pig Valley has minerals, especially sulphate, that Takaka does not. Neither of which you will be able to get, but I use it as an example of the reason to find out the purity of your lime.
Ag lime takes about 3 years to dissolve - it is actually ground up stones of a particular type - so test again in about a year before you put on fertilisers.
I strongly believe that companies that are owner by farmers will provide better information than private companies. I use Ravensdown and their laboratory that can test lots of thing very well. But Ballance is probably just as good.

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8 years 11 months ago #509226 by RaeM1
Replied by RaeM1 on topic soil test help
We only use Agrisea Soil and foliage liquid fertilizers, and then every few years get lime put on our place, the grass seems to recover quicker than the farms around us after any dry spells, and we think its the Seaweed fertilizer we are using. Also as we have a tractor and a sprayer, we can add stuff like dock or thistle killers at the same time. We graze on our 50 acres at the moment 38 cattle, (19 yearlings, + 19 rising 2 year olds) we have 4 of our own horses, eldest is 30 and youngest is 22 years old (all Appaloosa Mares) plus we have for the last few months had 7 TB empty brood mares on, that have two paddocks we graze them on, and for the last month another 6 infoal TB mares running in our hay paddock, (8 acres) , (they went back to the stud on Friday) Our place is still growing grass, and okay we feed out baleage every day, only about 7 slices loaded each day on our bike trailer, and fed out to the whole lot of animals ( the slices are from big square bales. ) We have tried Reaction, and other fertilizers, but they can affect the horses in not very good ways, with colic being one of the results from other fertilizers.

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