Darling Downs Qld January 2016

Best distributor, Brice Kaddatz, of Macadamia & Horticultural Services, Gympie Qld and Keiran Knight, Northern NSW Best agronomist, recently undertook a crop check tour in the Dalby, Bowenville, Brymaroo, Oakey and Cambooya areas.

A total of seven farms were visited, some long term TM Ag users, and some first year who had applied the product in a split paddock trial situation to assess the product for themselves. All feedback was positive and was confirmed by the observations made at each site.

Robert Smith, Bowenville. Robert is a long term user and had ordered some more product to be delivered. Robert grows canary seed, white millet, sorghum and wheat. He explained how his first use of TM had produced such a dramatic result that he since has consistently used TM to underwrite his production for the last 5-6 years. With his house and shed facilities set on a hill overlooking his country, he explained that when he first did his own split paddock trials, he was able to see the positive results of treated areas and controls very easily from a distance. 

Brice & Rob Smith overlooking cultivation. 

Brice & Terry Leerentveld. TM treated stubble. 

Terry Leerentveld, Dalby. Terry used TM for the first time on irrigated sorghum in early November. Gypsum had also been applied to the whole paddock.

When we first arrived, Terry told us that he didn’t think the TM had made any difference. The closer inspection of a crop and soil check revealed the following:
The TM treated area was softer underfoot as confirmed by the penetrometer readings. 600-800 psi untreated

300-350 psi treated.
The treated area was much easier to dig and displayed much better soil aggregation with less “cloddy structure” which will enable better water infiltration / holding capacity and nutrients to be used more efficiently.
The electronic pH meter also indicated a positive change in the soil pH compared to the control.
It was noted that the TM treated stubble was in a more advanced state of digestion, with fungi activity levels noticeably higher on the TM area.

This paddock will be going into mung beans and Terry will definitely be using TM now that he has seen how much it has improved his compromised soil. 


Untreated area 

TM treated area 

Paul & Trish Wright, Brymaroo. Paul and Trish, like many farmers, are questioning the wisdom of continually applying increasing amounts of expensive inorganic fertiliser to maintain production, whilst noticing depleting soil condition. They applied TM to a crop of cow peas, with no other inputs. Although the crop was far from mature at the time of inspection, it was obviously healthy and displayed no sign of any deficiency. Here also, to pH meter confirmed a correction in the treated versus untreated area.

The most obvious difference in this cowpea paddock was that the half of the paddock that didn’t have TM applied had water still laying on it from the 40mls of rain received the day before, increasing losses due to evaporation. When walking into the untreated area the mud stuck to your boots. As soon as you crossed the spray line into the TM treated area, this was not the case due to the improved water infiltration from TM encouraging the soil biology which in turn improved the soil structure enabling the recent rain to be absorbed into the profile.

As can be seen in the photos, when examining the soil and the roots of the TM treated cowpea crop, the soil displayed good aggregation, with a strong vertical tap root due to being able to easily push through the soil profile and numerous lateral roots with good fibrous development giving the plants better access to nutrients, oxygen and moisture and growing large nitrogen fixing nodules that when split open contained the ideal dark red coloured leghemoglobin which is a good indicator that they are fixing atmospheric nitrogen 

 TM treated soil and cowpea root system   TM area of the cowpea crop
Paul & Trish Wright & Keiran, inspecting strong root system on the TM treated cow pea.   Missingham Crop: Against the odds. 

Tom & Dean Missingham, Oakey. 

100 ha, sorghum on what Tom and Dean, as well as the neighbours consider to be “tough and challenging” to farm. Ground preparation not ideal and 150mm rain post seeding adding an additional challenge. The pH test indicated a positive change of 0.5 treated to untreated.

A visual improvement in the soil could easily be seen which was infiltrating the recent rain through the profile, displaying good soil aggregation. The sorghum crop was healthy, with many beneficial insects present that were keeping the heliothis grubs within the threshold of not having to apply an insecticide. The improvement in the soil is enabling Tom to grow a potentially high yielding sorghum crop which normally would be difficult to achieve on the previously overworked, compacted soil.

Tom and their agronomist are pleased with the development of the crop despite the very difficult conditions. 

John Strasser, Greenmount. 

John applied just one 250ml/ha application to his barley in-crop last winter and from that application could see enough improvement in the health and yield of the barley crop to continue using TM. The same paddock was planted into Buster sorghum in November and the first TM application was applied three weeks before planting. John’s soil was already in fairly good health with a pH around 6.2. The penetrometer readings in the paddock were within the satisfactory range of around 300psi.

John also applied two TM applications to his soybean crop and made the comment that before the recent 30mls rainfall his crop was looking healthy and not lacking moisture, whereas the neighbour’s soybean crop was very moisture stressed.

John is also interested in the typically higher brix levels within TM treated crops. The associated degree of frost protection from a higher sap brix is well known and scientifically sound. Last year John lost a whole sorghum crop due to an unseasonal frost in April.

John applied 25kg/ha of starter and 100kg of anhydrous ammonia before planting this year’s sorghum and is also looking forward to being able to reduce his fertilizer rates as he continues to use TM. John plans to grow chickpeas after this sorghum crop if he can have them planted by May, with TM encouraging the soil biology, this will help break down the sorghum stubble and retain the moisture in the profile so that the chickpeas can be planted into enhanced soil conditions. 

TM treated soil in sorghum crop 

John Strasser’s vigorous TM sorghum crop

Stuart and John Savage, Positive signs for TM. 

Keiran & John Strasser 

Stuart & John Savage, Cambooya. Brice attended this property alone and in his opinion this had to be some of the best soil he’d ever seen, good enough to grow anything says Brice. The crop density and health was nothing short of phenomenal. Penetrometer tests indicated both treated and untreated had no compaction issues. Stuart and his father John assured him they were very happy with the progress of the crop and believed it to be improved over non TM crops produced on that same block on previous occasions. “The proof will be in the pudding” as they say.

Rob Bradford, Tannymorel. 

Rob has planted sorghum with 75 kg of urea and a mix of zinc coated MAP, Sulphur 250 and sulphate of potash all at 60kg/ha. Rob’s ph is 8 and he has soil tests taken each year. Rob has applied two 250ml/ha TM application to his sorghum crop for the first time this year leaving none untreated.

Since Christmas Rob has received 350mls of rain as well as severe hail and despite this Rob’s TM treated sorghum crop was looking healthy, had grown through the storm damage and the soil was infiltrating the excess moisture from the high rainfalls throughout the profile.

Rob is looking forward to the TM assisting in lowering his pH from around 8 to enable the soil to access nutrients that are presently locked up because the majority of phosphate solubilising soil fungi and bacteria are most efficient at pH 6. He is also keen to reduce his fertilizer rates and will continue with his annual soil testing. 

Rob’s weather damaged TM sorghum 

TM treated soil infiltrating and aggregating 


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