Healthy Soils Research & DevelopmentIn April 2011, Healthy Soils embarked on a very ambitious research programme under the auspices of Peter Espie PhD, Agscience Ltd of Dunedin. Peter is a much respected scientist, specialising in soil and environmental science.
Peter was advised of the range of products we needed to trial in order to establish totally, the credibility of the advice given to clients and of the various product mixes the company promotes.
As all of the past advice has been based on proven knowledge available from US scientific research, it was important that we established for our Healthy Soils clients, proof that what our agents were advising was in fact, scientifically proven to work here in New Zealand.
Dr Espie designed and was responsible for the layout of all the trial areas.
There are now a total of nine trial areas in several parts of the southern South Island, all monitored by Dr Espie.
- These trial areas include, 5 blocks in a fertigation trial through a centre pivot,
- 16 plots in a nitrogen trial where comparative tests are being done on liquids containing urea vs two methods of applying solid urea. This is being conducted on a dairy farm.
- There are 60 plots in two locations, where tests are being done to identify a means of controlling hieracium.
- A large trial on tussock hill country has been established to identify the most beneficial and economic fertilisers for that class of land. This involves 100 plots, 4 x 5 meters in size.
- A second trial on similar hill country will establish the viability of establishing several plant species and various fertilizer mixes on this class of country. This involves a total of 225 small plots within the 20 larger fertiliser blocks.
- A further trial on dry hill country in Central Otago has also been established to test the viability of establishing the plant species trialed above, in this class of country. This has been fenced to keep rabbits out, as have all the above areas, and various fertilisers and amounts have been applied as well on the 20 plots.
- The original two blocks of trials covered approx. one hectare each and involved folia trials, fertilizer trials on top of the folia, and trials with lime, humate, guano and sulphur at various rates. One of these trial areas is still in its original size of 76 plots, but the other has been extended and now has 124 trial plots. This is because it was felt that it was important to apply folia on half of the lime, humate, guano and sulphur trials. Also a new trial was laid down in the spring of 2012 to compare Healthy Soils solids (P) with the identical solids (P) from a traditional fertilizer company.
All the above trial work has produced very positive results, so much so that Healthy Soils can go forward with confidence in the knowledge that the advice our agents have been giving has now been scientifically established to be correct. While it is appreciated that the trials are only two years down the track, with a target of three years plus, the results lead us forward with confidence.
Dr Espie discussed these positive scientific results at both field days held at Shortlands Stn on May 14th and May 21st, 2013.
Please contact the Healthy Soils office or your local agent if you would like further information and/or an appointment with a company representative.