Turning dairy farm waste into high-value fertiliser

Turning dairy farm waste into high-value fertiliser

Feed Management
Maree Deenan said the response from the grass was amazing after using Ignition.

Maree Deenan said the response from the grass was amazing after using Ignition.

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For many years, Maree has used her effluent pond to fertilise her pastures, but this year she thought she'd try something different.

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Maree Deenan has been a farmer all her life.

She runs a dairy farm at Leongatha South managing 160 cows, mainly Holstein and a few Jerseys.

After taking a few years out to raise her young family, she's now back to running the farm full-time and is in her sixth season of milk production.

For many years, Maree has used her effluent pond to fertilise her pastures, but this year she thought she'd try something different.

After speaking to Kevin Beecroft, co-owner at Biolink and former Victorian dairy farmer, Maree applied Ignition to her effluent pond.

Ignition is a granulated blend of microbes and microbial stimulants.

It breaks down the nutrients in compost faster helping to make them more available to the plants once the compost is ready to use.

"I always spread my effluent at Autumn every year," Maree said.

"Then after talking to Kev, I gave Ignition a try.

"I put our first two buckets of Ignition into the effluent pond two months before I needed to spread it around the farm.

"We were lucky to have about an inch of rain after this year's effluent spreading, so the solution really soaked in."

Maree said the pasture regrowth was phenomenal and there were no weeds, unlike previous seasons.

"We'd been using effluent on the farm in the previous four years," she said.

"You tend to get a lot of doxx, stinging nettle and weeds coming up after each season - but not this year.

"That was probably the most significant thing - the lack of weeds.

"And the response from the grass was amazing!

"You'd think I'd just piled on a load of fertiliser."

Microbes do all the work - faster!

The normal process of composting takes about three to six months.

Using a blend of microbes and microbial stimulants helps to speed up the composting process.

A multi-microbial formula is best.

It processes waste faster and produces fertiliser which enriches the soil and feeds plants with readily-available nutrients.

It's also effective in suppressing disease-causing organisms and pathogens.

The advantage of this approach for dairy farmers is they have a ready-to-use, rich compost in just over three weeks.

Plus, it makes good use of all that excess waste on the farm.

An organic fertiliser that is easy to use

Maree's farm is not organic, but she's happy to use an organic fertiliser if it produces results and saves her money.

Three months after the initial treatment of her effluent pond, Maree once again applied two buckets of Ignition.

"I think using Ignition is great value," she said.

"We normally apply about 180 kilograms of fertiliser per hectare.

"Using the Biolink product, we didn't need to apply the fertiliser as thickly.

"The other good thing was there was no 'burn'. I think the rain helped.

"I just watched the grass bounce out of the ground.

"I'd highly recommend it to anybody.

"Once you know that it's a really good product, I think farmers are prepared to try something new, especially when it's so easy to use.

"You just tip in the bucket. It's simple to do and the results are great."

The cost of using Ignition typically starts at around $1200 per farm per year, depending on the numbers of cows and the volume of effluent.

Each bucket costs $220, including GST.

Visit www.biolink4plants.com.au for more information about managing your effluent pond more effectively.

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