Monday, 14 November 2016 13:49

Test now to maintain top pasture growth

Written by  Supplied
Soil testing is the only way to accurately assess soil nutrient levels. Soil testing is the only way to accurately assess soil nutrient levels.

Farmers and graziers are being encouraged to soil test this spring to identify opportunities to improve farm productivity and profitability next year.

Soil testing is the only way to accurately assess soil nutrient levels and tests can be conducted any time.

“It surprises me that more farmers don’t insist on soil testing every year,” said Jim Laycock, agronomist with Incitec Pivot Fertilisers.

“For less than $100 per sample, farmers can find out the soil’s key physical and chemical properties as well as the current phosphorus, potassium and sulphur levels,” he said.

“This allows farmers to employ targeted fertiliser programs that will help them achieve their grazing goals.”

Mr Laycock said soil testing in spring had a number of advantages.

“In spring, you can easily see and avoid any areas that are not representative of the whole paddock, such as stock camps, urine patches, soaks, tree lines, cow or sheep manure,” he said.

“The soil is moist, so it is easy to get the probe down to 10 cm accurately for a precise 0-10 cm sample.

“It’s often much more pleasant weather than getting out in the heat of summer too!”

Soil sample test results are completed within five days of being received by the company’s Nutrient Advantage laboratory in Werribee.

“This gives farmers plenty of time to plan their soil amendment and fertiliser purchases and arrange spreading, well before the peak autumn application time,” he said.

For best results, Mr Laycock said pasture topdressing should be completed before the autumn break.

He encouraged graziers to make a small investment in improving their farm’s productive potential this spring by insisting on soil testing.

“Graziers are welcome to submit soil samples directly to the laboratory or work with their local agronomist to arrange soil sampling, testing and fertiliser recommendations,” he said.

(SOURCE: Supplied)


More like this

While the industry makes headlines, the market turns

We're getting close to the peak of the production season in southern Australia, in one of the most tumultuous periods in the recent history of the industry. In the past 18 months, an unprecedented volume of milk has moved between major dairy companies in a short space of time, and most likely has some way to go yet, as the aftershocks of the major step-down in milk prices towards the end of the 2015-16 season continue to reverberate.

Situation & Outlook: World moves slowly

Dairy Australia’s latest Situation and Outlook report will be released tomorrow, during what’s shaping up as a period of recovery for the Australian dairy industry amidst a noisy corporate and policy environment.

Barn a boon for Echuca dairy

Steve Hawken looks at the construction of a deep straw compost barn on his Echuca dairy farm as an investment in the future of his business.

More from this category

Increased Euro dairy production no threat


THE MOVE to a more liberal market regime in European dairy will not pose a significant threat to the Australian industry, according to an international dairy specialist.

Northern NSW grass factory

UP ON the Northern Rivers of NSW – the top, eastern corner that abuts Queensland and the Gold Coast – they reckon Cory Crosthwaite is far and away the best grass grower around.

The Tweedside dairy’s 94ha, all sandy loam river flats apart from 8ha of red volcanic ‘hill’, produces more than 20,000kg of dry matter/ha a year, while pastures on your average dairy farm in the region do around 3500kgDM/ha/year. 

Effluent on pasture returns nutrients

THE RE-USE of second pond effluent back onto pasture will help return valuable nutrients to the soil, a six-year study has found.

The study at the DemoDAIRY research and demonstration farm at Terang tested a range of application rates of second pond effluent to pasture to determine how much can be safely applied.

It recommended that correct use of second pond effluent should be encouraged on dairy farms but found applying too much on the same land could have negative environmental impacts.

Fighting kikuyu invasion

A WEST Australia farmer is planning high sugar grass trials with the aim of holding back the kikuyu invasion of his dairy farm south of Perth.

Victor Rodwell, who milks 840 Holstein Friesians and crossbreds on a dairy platform of 250ha at Boyanup, 200km south of Perth, plans to sow more AberMagic high sugar ryegrass this autumn for its persistent and dense tiller and root growth, as well as its high nutritional value.

Change your rhythm to make lasting changes

I WAS recently informed that over 90% of what we do and how we do it is out of habit or routine and very little is spontaneous or based on the information on hand at the time.

Initially I wanted to challenge this suggestion but found that it is true in my life.

Summer rain can herald problems for livestock

THE VICTORIAN Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is advising livestock producers that while the recent rain could provide valuable green feed, they need to keep close watch on their stock to avoid possible health problems.

MANY FARM tracks are in need of serious maintenance after the wet conditions prevalent across most of Australia last year. Following are some practical tips that will hopefully help save time and money when the season permits some repair work.


The Stony Rises, near Colac, are aptly named.  While the soil is rich with nutrients and the rainfall consistently good, the land is disrupted by a vast number of basalt rocks caused by volcanic activity from thousands of years ago.

During the past month, I have received many calls regarding employment – the majority seeking clarification from people on whether they are employing or being employed correctly.

A new scanning device fitted to a four-wheel motorbike could revolutionise the way landholders   plan their attacks on red-headed cockchafers.


As we head out of the wettest summer on record how do we capitalise on the good conditions and turn it into ongoing benefit for our business?

WITH LAND prices of $19,000/hectare throughout Western Victoria, dairy farmers Mark and Kim Bayne were forced to think outside the square to get their own farm.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated.\nBasic HTML code is allowed.

» Get social

When butter and chocolate collide

TWO New Zealand companies Lewis Road Creamery and Whittakers have teamed up to deliver what must be every dairy lover’s dream: chocolate butter.

» E-Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required