Enhancing composted manure and green waste with BioAg
Composts typically come from manures or green waste and vary based on their source. Manure based composts are typically derived from collected or captured waste, like feed lots, milking sheds or intensive housing. Green waste compost is made from plant residues / organic materials. On a farm, crop residues such as husks, straw, leaves, peel, stems, shells, stubble and pulp offer an opportunity for production of green waste composts.
While composts are typically low in levels of macro and micro nutrients, there is significant benefit as a source of stabilised carbon. The carbon provides a rich food source for the soil microbial system, feeding and expanding soil biology which in turn enhances a number of soil properties including cycling and supply of nutrients that are present in or added to soil.
Addressing nutrient deficiencies
As a result of the typically low level of macro (between 0.5% to 1.5%) nutrients and micro nutrients in compost, at typical rates of use, compost alone will not provide sufficient macro or micro nutrients to meet production needs. If crop nutrient requirements are not addressed (e.g. P, S, Ca, Zn or B) then they have the potential to be the most limiting factor in crop or pasture development, affecting growth rate, health, size and ultimately, yield.
How BioAg has been used in a Riverina vineyard operation to fortify compost
Our viticulture specialist Stephan Logoida can help you get a better return on your compost.
What is used to enhance composts and green waste?
BioAg’s range of natural fertilisers are ideal fertilisers to enhance composts for a number of reasons:
- They are nutrient dense
- Nutrients are supplied in a long lasting and sustained release form
- They contain well below the maximum allowable limits for contaminants
- They resist common nutrient loss issues such as leaching and lock-up
- They are also available in certified organic variants
How blends are prescribed
A BioAg enhanced compost blend includes nutrients that are tailored to suit the individual target paddock and the crop to be grown. Before prescribing nutrients we determine soil and plant needs through soil, leaf and tissue testing, measuring determinants such as:
- Functional availability of nutrients
- Soil pH
- Soil compaction
- Plant sugar content
- Plant energy content
Nutrients are supplied in a form compatible with soil conditioners and synthetic fertilisers. Test analysis results can be provided showing improvements being made to a farming system during and between seasons, such as:
- Nutrient solubilisation ability
- Nutrient cycling ability
- Drought and disease resistance
- Accessibility to nutrients, and
- Residue breakdown
How compost improves nutrient uptake
The value of nutrients is greatly enhanced when used in combination with compost. Having delivered the correct type and amount of nutrients required, the addition of compost provides food for the soil food web, enhancing microbial activity for improved cycling of nutrients into a plant available form, as well as optimising the rate of plant uptake.
Less nutrient is lost through leaching from the soil as the rich source of stabilised carbon provided by compost increases the ability of soil to hold nutrient and moisture within the plant root zone. The use of compost reduces the locking-up of nutrients to soil antagonists, with the microbial digestion of carbon releasing the nutrient bound within it.
Reducing the cost to the grower
Meeting soil and crop requirements involves the consideration of physical, chemical and biological constraints. Carbon, energy, structure, beneficial microbial populations, habitat and minerals are all addressed through the compost and nutrient blend approach.
Soil analysis ensures that deficiencies are addressed without over-applying any inputs. The grower benefits as both nutrients and organic/biological matter are addressed in a single application.
By delivering a compost blend that supplies the appropriate nutrient package for each site, limiting factors are reduced, and the overall performance of the system is maximised. When this happens, the perceived value of the compost blend increases above the value of a compost-only application.
Creating a complete fertiliser
The compost industry is very efficient at converting raw waste materials, both plant and animal based, into stabilised forms of carbon suitable for land application. The perceived value of this compost however, is limited to its ability to address soil nutrient deficiencies or imbalances.
By enhancing compost with nutrients, based on robust agronomic principles, the overall return on investment of applying this blend will always be greater than the compost as a standalone product. Coupled with this is the reduction in application costs, achieved by blending all of the nutrients required into the one product.
Modern agriculture is under constant margin squeeze and as a result sustainable/profitable producers are always investing in efficiency gains, whether that is in nutrient delivery or in reduced application costs. By working together and combining the expertise of your local composter with that of your BioAg representative, we continue to build compost-based solutions, making the most of affordable local compost, and ensuring crops and pastures have the nutrients required to deliver great outcomes.