A TRIAL of a biological soil conditioner has shown increases in herd health on a dairy enterprise at Grassmere, in southern Victoria.
Coomarook Dairy is part of the Midfield Group.
Manager Alex Bowman trialled Great Land biological soil conditioner from Terragen Biotech on 202 hectares of pasture with applications made via boom spray in autumn and spring.
He said the aim of the trial was to compare the treated ryegrass pasture to other pastures on the property using soil and leaf tissues tests as a guide.
Great Land is designed to increase plant health and productivity by enhancing the soil characteristics that enable better availability and uptake of soil-bound nutrients.
“I am looking forward to seeing the soil and leaf tests going forward,” Mr Bowman said.
“I think it could be an excellent addition to how we farm.”
He said while the soil and tissue tests will be of interest, they had already seen massive health benefits through their cow herd with the use of Great Land.
“Our cell counts have improved too! Farming does have a lot of variables, so we are looking forward to seeing the results over the next three to five years.
“So far the data has been very good and I’m confident it will stay that way.”
Mr Bowman said they trialled Great Land because of the service they received from local Terragen Biotech representative Paul Weston.
“Once Paul became involved his enthusiasm really helped us position the product and get the most out of it,” Mr Bowman said.
The enterprise milked 2000 cows last year and looks to increase that number to around 2500 in 2019.
A split calving timeline is used with heifers calving in February and cows from March through until the end of May.
A second calving period commences in the third week of July and continues through until December.
Mr Bowman said the main feed sources across autumn, winter and spring were diploid and tetraploid ryegrass pastures with 80 per cent of the pasture made up of perennial species and 20 per cent Italian.
After the Italian pasture is finished for the year it is power harrowed with a summer crop and then rotated through to a perennial.
The plan with the use of Great Land on the pastures is to improve the soil biology to assist the nutrient uptake by the plant, improve quality and growth, and benefit the overall health of the herd.
Ryegrass trial shows herd health benefits