Soils and Fertility

Soil fertility is more than just minerals

I used to think soil fertility was little more than making sure the correct chemical elements or nutrients ( N, P, K, S, Ca etc) as measured by soil nutrient test are available in the soil in the right amounts.

I realise now that this view of soil fertility is a very narrow one and certainly not sufficient if one wishes to grow quality food that is resistant to pest and disease, handles and keeps well, is tasty and nutritious. For this we need to consider two other equally important aspects of soil fertility; physical aspects and biological aspects.

So what is (soil) humus?

So what is (soil) humus?

By Roger Martyn

Humus is amazing stuff and I think is the key component of soil fertility. A big call perhaps but read the following and make up your own mind.

The presence and quantity of humus is often mentioned in discussions on soil fertility, however there is often a poor understanding of what humus actually is and what it can contribute to soil fertility. Accordingly, many opportunities to enhance soil fertility or even just maintain it are missed.

Brix and nutrient dense food FAQ's

What is Brix?

Brix, more correctly named 'degree Brix' (°Bx), named after the named after the 19th century Austrian scientist Adolf Brix who came up with the scale is a measure of the weight of sugar dissolved in water as percentage by weight (% w/w). Therefore a 5% brix solution is 5 grams of sugar dissolved in 95 grams of pure water at 25° Celsius and pure water would have a brix of 0%. more

How is brix measured?

Clover, the perfect Controlled Release Nitrogen‎ Source

 Pastures growing in soils where the fertility has been correctly balanced and the conditions are right, will respond most to Nitrogen fertiliser inputs.

Salt as a Fertilize

Salt as a Fertilizer - Useful or Useless?
by Roger Martyn

Note : This article was written many years ago,  when I was a dairy farm consultant in New Zealand.  While Australia is not New Zealand, and many soils in Australia are sodic (although not very many in dairying) , the messages this article contains are just as pertinent to Australian soils as they are to New Zealand’s.


Liming is not all about soil pH

by Roger Martyn

Many soils I see are seriously lacking lime.

Observable signs of a lack of lime in pasture include the presence of flat weeds (dandelions and plantain), moss, chick weed, yarrow, poor and variable sized clover, bare patches, shallow rooting of pasture plants, the presence of thatching and dead matter in the pasture especially in the top 25mm of the soil, poor to nil earthworm presence, and of those present, are small, dry and displaying poor activity when dug up and exposed to the sunshine.

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