WHO: Joe Sandford, Farm Manager, Kinyerrie Partnership

WHERE: Keith, South Australia

WHAT: Lucerne seed, hay crop, cattle, and lamb

AIM: Unlock nutrients in the soil; improve soil texture, significant reduction in fertilizer bill and better soil health over time

-Sites have returned to normal pH and normal organic matter levels within a year (before strongly acidic and low organic matter.)
-Real improvements in soil structure.
-Increase in quality and quantity of both hay and Lucerne seed crops.

Kynerrie Partnership has farm locations throughout the South East farming region of South Australia. They grow hay and Lucerne crops, and also graze animals on their land. Being one the leaders in innovative farming ideas Joe Sandford had been looking for alternatives to fertilizers for years. They are trialing their tailored composted blend on two different sites with different soil issues and are having remarkable results.

“Using compost this way looks like it will deliver great value because the benefits extend well beyond the currents years’ crops”

Joe Sandford, Kinyerrie Partnerships

The sandy soils on Kynerrie farm sites have such issues as such: strong acidic traces, low levels of nutrients, and the soil structures are sandy. The composted blend that Peats soil tailored for Kynerrie farms will promote a change in the soil structure, reduce the superphosphate levels, and promote nutrients in the soil. The compost will also promote the conservation of water in the soil profile.

Joe Sandford worked closely with Peter Wadewitz of peats soil to make sure the tailored composted product was the best mix for the type of soils that Kynerrie partnerships were dealing with. Through detailed scientific testing on the soils (conducted by Peats soil), Peter and Joe came up with a cultured compost base mix that also included 3% clay and 25kg/t of superphosphate. The application rate applied on the two trial sites was 4t/ha. The trial sites consisted of land that had drop tube irrigation and no irrigation.

The results after just one year of the three year trial have been remarkable. Mr. Sandford says that he could tell that there was a great improvement in the crop and soil and now we have done the soil testing for this year, it is proof that the cultured composted blend is having very positive effects. The testing has shown that the superphosphate reduction has decreased to 60kg per hectare, there is a higher level of nutrients in the soil and there has been a dramatic increase in microbiology activity in the soil. With these tests and the far higher yield quality and quantity it is ‘Proof in the paddock’ that this compost blend is turning the normally sandy, acidic and low nutrient soil into something special.

“The Cost of compost has been roughly the same as the previous fertilizer cost.”

Joe Sandford, Kinyerrie Partnership