New Fert$mart cour­ses to be held in Au­gust

Dairy News Australia - - AROUND THE REGIONS -

WESTVIC DAIRY, with the sup­port of the Glenelg Hop­kins CMA and the Co­rangamite CMA, is run­ning Fert$mart cour­ses in Au­gust.

Fert$mart is a sci­ence-based na­tional soil and fer­tiliser pro­gram de­signed to lift both prof­itabil­ity and ef­fi­ciency of fer­tiliser use.

The 2015-16 Dairy Farm Mon­i­tor project iden­ti­fied that the av­er­age farm spent 42 cents/kg milk solids on fer­tiliser.

The WestVic Dairy Fert$mart cour­ses in­clude an ini­tial work­shop, which looks at the sci­ence and eco­nom­ics of soils and fer­tilis­ers. The next step is the col­lec­tion of soil sam­ples from the dif­fer­ent zones on the par­tic­i­pant’s farm.

Once the soil test re­sults have been re­turned, a qual­i­fied farm­ing con­sul­tant vis­its the farm to de­velop a tai­lored Fert$mart plan. A se­cond work­shop is then held to share learn­ings from the de­vel­op­ment of the in­di­vid­ual Fert$mart fer­tiliser plans and ad­dress any ques­tions.

Soil tests can be as cheap as $60-80 per sam­ple and the re­sults from the tests will help build a fer­tiliser plan that en­sures the fer­tiliser is go­ing to where it is most needed.

The course will be free to farm­ers and as an ad­di­tional in­cen­tive to take part in the pro­gram, a sub­sidy of $50 per soil sam­ple will be of­fered to farm­ers who com­plete the pro­gram.

Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria will be pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion on ef­flu­ent use. Pre­vi­ous Fert$mart pro­grams that have been con­ducted through­out Aus­tralia usu­ally re­sult in sub­stan­tial fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits.

Through reg­u­lar soil test­ing and mon­i­tor­ing changes in the soil nu­tri­ent lev­els over time, farm­ers are able to en­sure pas­ture pro­duc­tion is max­imised by ad­dress­ing any soil nu­tri­ent de­fi­cien­cies.

How­ever, some of the big­gest cost sav­ings have come from iden­ti­fy­ing pad­docks with high fer­til­ity that don’t re­quire main­te­nance fer­tiliser, re­sult­ing in lower fer­tiliser costs.

Each course is funded for 12 farm­ing busi­ness so po­si­tions are lim­ited. How­ever, more than one per­son from each farm­ing busi­ness is en­cour­aged to at­tend.

To reg­is­ter, con­tact Pe­ter Gaffy on 0438 345 712 or email pe­ter@west­vic­

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