Bacteria answer to nitrogen leaching
Nitrogen pollution in New Zealand’s waterways could be eradicated and farmers could save thousands following promising trial results of a Tokoroa company’s bacteria-based fertiliser system.
For 18 months Jones Agri owner Mark Jones-ciochetto has been trialling a system using living bacteria and humates that allow nitrogen to be fixed from the atmosphere rather than applied artificially.
Trials have not only eliminated leaching, which is one of the leading causes of waterway pollution, but also improved pasture growth twofold eliminating the need for conventional fertilisers altogether.
‘‘Regional councils are coming down on dairy farmers firmly at the moment over their use of nitrogen but we have a bacteria which does not need you to apply nitrogen,’’ Jones-ciochetto said.
‘‘We go into farms and apply our living bacteria with our humates and other fungi and that fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere the same as clover does and because the nitrogen is being fixed from the atmosphere regional council’s don’t even need to come in.’’
‘‘In most of the trials we are getting 50 per cent more dry matter in the paddocks than the rest of a farm where conventional fertilisers have been used which means more feed being grown for the animals.
‘‘The cell count of the cows in the bulk milk vat is also going down, the protein level of the milk is going up roughly by 15 per cent so farmers are getting more in their pay cheques, and animal health is improving so vet bills are also going down.
Jones-ciochetto said the theory behind the bacteria based system has been around since 1952 but until now no one has been able to get it to keep working.
‘‘We have cottoned on to what to put with it and how to feed it. There are lots of procedures you have to follow and things you can’t do but once it is in the ground and the biology is working it grows grass,’’ he said excitedly.
He said the system was also certified Biogro organic.
‘‘Joe public want to know what they are eating now and they don’t want chemicals,’’ he said.
‘‘All the products we use you could actually drink and you could pour it into waterways and it won’t destroy them.’’
His main clients are farmers but he’s also working with orchards and market gardeners.