In 1992, Gary Stewart established Ballymoss Stud, based in Lisburn, Co. Down, alongside his wife. Since then, his daughter has taken over the hands-on work with the horses which includes breaking, riding and competing.
Ballymoss Stud comprises 40ac and, including broodmares and youngstock, there are currently 25 horses on the farm.
Here, the Stewarts breed, produce, and compete young sport horses before they are sold on to reach their full potential with new owners.
This year, Gary found that his grass growth was better than previous years which he believes is down to using Supersoil’s organic fertiliser.
No more chemicals
Supersoil is an organic fertiliser made from healthy soil microbes and organic plant matter made using a cutting edge quantum compression technique.
Supersoil is made in Ireland and is 100% pure, natural and organic. It’s also fully approved by the Irish Organic Society and suitable for worldwide use.
Gary first came across Supersoil on Facebook, and after reading positive comments and reviews about the product, he decided to contact the company.
Nowadays, farmers are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint. As horses can be susceptible to gastrointestinal issues, Gary is constantly looking for ways to reduce the level of chemicals used on the farm.
“I’m always conscious of chemical fertilisers and how much you need. We would never overdose the ground, the maximum we would apply is maybe 100kg/ha,” he said.
“Young horses get stressed – some from being in the stables, some by nature, and some by the work their doing.
“Stress can cause gastric problems, so I’m hoping that by feeding them organically treated forage, it will reduce the level of gastric problems.
“I think that a lot of gastric problems can be caused by their diet and all of the chemicals used on and in their feed.
“If you can move away from chemical fertilisers, or if you can reduce it to a minimum, is better than anything – it’s organic, so it’s worth a try,” he said.
Each 1kg pouch of Supersoil contains one trillion beneficial microbes and a powerful growth booster, which has a nutrient value equivalent to 20t of organic compost.
Unlike chemical fertilisers, Supersoil can be applied at any time of the year, and even while animals are grazing as it is organic.
Prior to spreading, Gary mixes 1kg of Supersoil with 1,000L which is enough to cover 10ac of grassland.
“I ordered a 1kg bag and I sprayed it out of my sprayer. There was nothing blocked, nothing left in the bottom of the tank and no residue. That’s the first thing that impressed me,” said Gary
More bales on fewer acres
To test the performance of Supersoil’s organic fertiliser, Gary decided to divide a newly reseeded field into 1ac and 4ac, fertilising one section with Supersoil and the other with chemical fertiliser.
Discussing his trial, Gary said: “I reseeded 5ac the year before in two batches; a 4ac field and a 1ac field.
“They were side-by-side so I said I’ll reseed the 1ac field with Supersoil and I’ll spray the 4ac field with chemical fertiliser as a trial.
“I used the same grass seed and reseeded both fields at the same time. This gave me a good comparative.
“As it was my first time using the product, I used chemical fertiliser on my winter forage fields, but I also fertilised a lot of my grazing ground with Supersoil only.
Gary continued on to reveal the results of his fertiliser trial, he said: “In the end, one of the 5ac grazing fields fertilised with Supersoil had to be cut as it was getting far too far ahead. I got another 30 bales off it that I wasn’t expecting.
“The 1ac Supersoil field in the trial ended up doing better than the 4ac chemically fertilised field beside it. It gave back 12 big bales, from the McHale Fusion baler. I never got 12 bales off it in my life. Even after the first year reseed, I’d never made 12 bales.
“The back field with chemical fertiliser probably gave back 10 bales. So, same soil type, same grass type, sprayed and fertilised around the same time, and the same time – I was really shocked with the results of Supersoil.
“I thought getting maybe seven or eight bales going organic would be a big bonus, but to get 12 bales off it really shocked me.
Lower costs, improved performance
Keeping costs at a minimum is a key factor for increasing profits. As chemical fertiliser costs continue to rise, it is in each farmer’s best interest to find an alternative solution.
Discussing the economical benefits of Supersoil, Gary said: “With the price of fertiliser this year, it’s much cheaper than chemical fertiliser.
“The big benefit I’m hoping for, that I’ll probably see next year as I only have 30 bales of Supersoil treated winter forage this year, is how our young horses perform off it.
“Next year, I’ll be using Supersoil on all my cutting ground, with no chemical fertiliser used. If I get the same results as I’ve gotten so far, I should see big improvements in my forage fields, and my horses’ health.”
Not only has Gary found that his forage output has increased, he has also found that grass fertilised with Supersoil is more palatable as his grazing ground has been grazed more evenly than before.
“I have noticed that horses who grazed the grazing ground treated with Supersoil only, where there was a lot of rank and sour grass left previous years, they’re grazing it much more evenly so it must have altered the pH in the ground and sweetened up the grass.
“I used to have to top off a lot of grass that they wouldn’t eat, but now there’s barely any patches left,” said Gary.
As it was Gary’s first time using Supersoil organic fertiliser, he required some advice and guidance which was promptly provided over the phone by the Supesoil team.
Describing his experience, Gary said: “It was second to none. From when the package was ordered, it took maybe two days to arrive at my door.
Gary was so pleased with the results of Supersoil that he has recommended the product to others, he said: “I also put a lady from Scotland in contact with the company and she bought Supersoil off the company.
“She has now fertilised all of her ground using Supersoil – she’s very impressed with the results too.
“Also, the delivery of the product was extremely quick – she said it was fantastic.”
For further information on Supersoil, click here.