WEST KILLANEAR FARM
“West Killanear” farm is a mixed cropping and grazing property. The site chosen to demonstrate compost benefits was a paddock sown down to grazing wheat in 2016.
Baseline soil analysis and ASM compost treatments commenced in Autumn 2016. Fertiliser was applied following standard practices used on this farm. At the time of harvest, the farmer recorded an increase in protein grade from the ASM treated area worth an extra $60 per hectare in income. There were no differences in grain yield measured in tonnes per hectare. No difference in yield may be due to the continued application of chemical fertilisers at the full rates. The combined use of ASM treatments and fertilisers at full rates is not cost effective. That ASM compost treatments still provided a worthwhile result is very good indeed and above expectations. The obvious next step is to repeat the demonstration using only ASM treated compost versus the rest of the paddock with only chemical fertilisers. We have found that farmers in general are reluctant to commit significant areas of crops to zero fertiliser treatments because of the perceived risk of no income from that area.
Property Size: 2,000 hectares
Type: Mixed cropping & grazing
Location: Boorowa, NSW
Results: The increase in wheat protein content was supported by soil test results showing increases in organic matter (64%), total nitrogen (57%), phosphorous (33%) and calcium (100%)
There are other considerations which make the increase in wheat protein content very important. This crop suffered from flooding through winter and early spring on the lower slopes. Fortunately the upper slopes of the treated area performed very well with the arrival of warmer and drier conditions later in the season.
The increase in wheat protein content was supported by soil test results showing increases in organic matter (64%), total nitrogen (57%), phosphorous (33%) and calcium (100%). Soil pH increased from 5.43 to 6.73 and nutrient availability (CEC) from 4.89 to 8.65. Further soil improvements are still required.
This Case Study was jointly funded by ASM and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). NSW EPA provided financial support under their Organics Market Development Program to demonstrate the use of recycled organics (compost) on farms in NSW.