What are Hu­mates?

DAVE WHITTEKER of ‘Hu­mate So­lu­tions’ ex­plains the power of Hu­mates.

Go Gardening - - Soil Health -

Whether your liveli­hood de­pends on grow­ing crops or pas­ture, cre­at­ing the right soil con­di­tions for op­ti­mum growth is vi­tal. And that’s where hu­mates come in.

When com­bined with fer­tiliser pro­grammes, hu­mates have been shown to pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in crop yields and pas­ture pro­duc­tion. They can im­prove root de­vel­op­ment, to­tal leaf area and to­tal crop yields per hectare.

The ma­te­rial greatly im­proves soil qual­ity and re­leases lockedin min­er­als for up­take by plants. When mixed with fer­tiliser or lime, hu­mates hold on to those nu­tri­ents un­til plants re­quire them, re­duc­ing loss into the en­vi­ron­ment.

Hu­mates have been shown to con­sis­tently im­prove the up­take of nu­tri­ents such as ni­tro­gen, phos­pho­rus and iron, as well as all the trace el­e­ments es­sen­tial for plant health.

Life forms such as bac­te­ria and earth­worms, which de­pend on hu­mus con­tent, con­trib­ute strongly to the main­te­nance of the soil struc­ture and the use of hu­mates can also pre­vent soil crack­ing, which ex­poses roots to the air and can cause crops to burn in se­vere heat con­di­tions. Since or­ganic mat­ter is not wa­ter sol­u­ble, soil with high hu­mus con­tent is less likely to be sub­ject to wa­ter ero­sion.

Hu­mates can hold up to 20 times their weight in wa­ter and by en­hanc­ing the soil’s abil­ity to re­tain wa­ter, can re­duce the need for crop ir­ri­ga­tion.

Grow­ers who use hu­mates can usu­ally cut back on fer­tiliser, es­pe­cially ni­tro­gen, by up to 25 per cent. In many cases it is pos­si­ble to cut back 50 per cent or more on phos­phate. That’s be­cause use of hu­mates pro­motes more and deeper root growth and in­creased bi­o­log­i­cal ac­tiv­ity to re­lease nu­tri­ents.

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