Healthy soil condition is the foundation of your farm
By Dr. PJ O’Connor, Grassland AGRO
The productivity of every farm in Ireland is dependent on the potential of the soils in each field to grow grass and crops.
Soil quality is something that is often taken for granted; resulting in problems arising where inadequate care and attention is paid to maintaining the soil’s ability to provide the core functions that it must perform for grass and crops.
These functions include: adequate soil structure and biological activity; good plant rooting; and optimised soil pH and nutrient supply.
Damage to soil quality can occur over time where soils get ill-treated by machinery or grazing animals in poor conditions, causing compaction and structural damage. It also happens where fertiliser and lime programmes are not tailored to the needs of the soil and the grass sward or crop being grown.
Without regular inputs of lime, the soil pH will be depleted and this will have the knock-on effects of reducing the availability of phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients.
Applying a soil conditioner is a good way of improving the health and condition of the soil and to overcome the damage caused by everyday wear and tear that farming imposes on the soil.
What Does Physiolith Soil Conditioner do?
Physiolith from Grassland AGRO is a unique product that is designed to condition the soil. It has two key ingredients that provide benefits.
It contains a marine calcium material called Calcimer, which acts as a source of calcium for both soil structural improvement and plant nutrition.
It also works as a soil surface pH stabiliser to maintain the soil pH at optimum levels and counteract the natural acidification of soil that will occur due to rainfall, crop growth and fertiliser application. By maintaining and optimising the soil pH, the availability of nutrients in the soil is maximised.
The highly-porous nature of Calcimer makes it more reactive than conventional liming materials. The porous structure also provides micro-sites for beneficial soil bacteria to flourish.
The other key ingredient of Physiolith is a plant root stimulant, extracted from seaweed.
This stimulant causes the plant to send out more roots and root hairs; helping the grass or crop to exploit a greater volume of the soil for water and nutrient uptake. It also gives the plant better anchorage in the soil, resulting in reduced sod-pull during grazing.
Does Physiolith Work?
Yes. On-farm trials in grazed pasture in 2016 proved that Physiolith has beneficial effects on both grass yield and quality.
Yield benefits of 0.9t/ha (dry matter per hectare) of extra grass dry matter were measured on paddocks that received two bags per acre of Physiolith compared with paddocks that received no Physiolith.
The paddocks that received Physiolith also had higher calcium and crude protein contents in the grass, thus showing the potential of Physiolith to boost nutrient uptake from the soil due to the increased rooting and overall grass quality.
For best results, apply Physiolith at a rate of two bags (100 kg) per acre in early spring or late autumn. Application at reseeding also has benefits of stimulating early rooting of the newly-established grass sward.
For more information on Physiolith contact one of Grassland AGRO’s specialsit agronomy advisors. Click here for more information