Calcizest essence of clover

By: Eco-logic Soil Improvement  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Grass, Pasture

CalciZest - Essence of Clover


Producing higher quality food.

The future of New Zealand intensive pastoral farming will remain based on pastures containing both grass and clover, with clover providing the bulk of the nitrogen required for high production.

Over the last twenty years increasing quantities of nitrogen fertiliser has been applied to New Zealand pastures and many farms have developed a dependence on regular fertiliser nitrogen applications to maintain growth.

A reliance on fertiliser nitrogen for high pasture yield is unsustainable.

The cost of nitrogen fertiliser will increase as the cost of all oil or coal derived energy increases, and with a growing awareness of the importance of water quality, the use of fertiliser nitrogen is becoming increasingly regulated.

CalciZest provides the basis of the solution to long-term pasture nitrogen requirements, with Visual Soil Assessment work by Graham Shepherd indicating that properties using CalciZest based programmes are both

sequestering carbon

and have

low potential for greenhouse gas emissions.

In the 2006 spring, 6 properties applying CalciZest and/or DoloZest had the following percentage of clover in the sward compared to 6 traditionally fertilised properties.


 

Well managed pastures using CalciZest as part of a sound nutrient programme are able to provide dry matter yield in excess of 18.0 tonne without the need for fertiliser nitrogen.

Clover % in pasture
  properties (6) with
DoloZest &/or CalciZest
properties (6) without
DoloZest &/or CalciZest
September 20% 11%
October 24% 12%
November 31% 12%
December 35% 18%
 

Early in November rye grass, usually the dominant grass in pastures, changes from strong vegetative growth to developing a seed head.

From the table above it can be seen that the clover content in well-managed pastures steadily increases throughout spring and early summer, providing a range of benefits.

Clover contains significantly higher levels of calcium than rye grass.  Whether the focus is milk production, or the growth of animal frame and meat production, calcium provides the base.

Clover is also more digestible than grasses, which means that animals can eat more,
grow more rapidly, and produce more milk solids.

Our monitoring work on properties where CalciZest is applied indicates that clovers nearly always contain more and never less soluble sugars i.e. the energy content is higher than grasses. 

The physical structure of clover allows for efficient utilisation of sunlight with a strong clover sward able to protect the soil during hot weather reducing loss of moisture.

Well structured pastoral soils in New Zealand normally contain between 5,000 and 14,000kg/ha of organically held nitrogen in the top 25cm. Nitrogen uptake by pasture plants is usually around 450kg/ha annually.

The speed at which nitrogen is cycled and made available for plant use is directly related to physical soil structures as well as plant available nutrient levels.

CalciZest provides the extra plant available calcium required for long stemmed, large leafed clover while providing the environment for increased numbers of beneficial earthworms.

Since the start of our measuring and monitoring work in 2003 it is noticeable that there is little, if any, flea or weevil damage to CalciZest-fed clovers.

Strong plants with sufficient of all nutrients necessary for optimum growth will be largely unaffected by pest or disease.

Clovers in pastures growing under near ideal conditions can fix in excess of 240 kg of nitrogen per ha per year.  The balance of the N required comes from soil microbes able to fix N directly from the atmosphere, urine, and the breakdown of dung, plant roots and uneaten herbage, provided the soil is well-structured and strongly biologically active.

The process of making CalciZest involves the culturing of selected fungi and bacteria onto soft carbon.  Sufficient food is added to ensure rapid colonisation of the soil after application.  Even when conditions go dry soon after application, strong biological activity is obtained once rain arrives.

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Benefits


  • More total dry matter with steady annual increases
  • A higher percentage of clover in sward
  • Reduction in the need for fertiliser nitrogen
  • Markedly improved weight gains and total animal performance
  • Cleaner animals, fewer dags and dirty tails
  • Improved drainage with better drought resistance due to increasing humus levels 

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Application rate.

    Typically 400kg/ha provides outstanding performance.  CalciZest is recommended as part of a comprehensive nutrient input programme.

As CalciZest is a natural product, it is not possible to guarantee analysis to be absolute.  Each mix produced will be such that there will be no significant difference in results obtained.

Calcium            Ca        21%                

Soft carbon, minimum of 25%



Eco-Logic CalciZest is a unique Soil Improver containing Calcium (lime),Organic Matter and Microbes for Plant Growth & Soil Health.

Clover is and will remain the most important plant in pastoral New Zealand. In 2003 it was estimated to “contribute $3 billion annually to the New Zealand economy and each one per cent improvement in yield has been estimated to be worth more than $20 million”. Fast-forward to 2007/08 and those figures will be markedly higher; with clover now likely to rank even higher in this country’s top 20 essential survival items. The country as a whole benefits from higher clover production but what of the individual farmer?

More clover grown means:-

  • higher total milk, meat, and wool yields
  • less nitrogen fertiliser required
  • lower overall costs
  • more disposable or bankable money
 

In the 2006 spring, 6 properties applying CalciZest and/or DoloZest had the following percentage of clover in the sward compared to 6 traditionally fertilised properties.

 
Clover % in Pasture
  properties (6) with DoloZest &/or CalciZest properties (6) without DoloZest &/or CalciZest
September 20% 11%
October 24% 12%
November 31% 12%
December 35% 18%

Rapidly cycling plant available calcium is the key to growing more clover. Clover has a higher requirement for calcium than does rye grass.

Just applying lime will help grow more clover however applying calcium in the form of CalciZest will be even more effective. 

CalciZest is highly effective because it contains a wide range of soil friendly fungi and bacteria that help speed nutrient cycling. Also included is humate and sufficient food to start the colonisation process. 

The recent addition of fine lime with the aglime provides an immediate boost in biological activity. A rapid greening of pasture is often seen within a few days of application. 

Increased nutrient cycling assists the formation of humus. More humus ensures:-

  • better drainage
  • reduced compaction and pugging less nutrient run-off and leaching
  • higher moisture retention in summer
  • more even grass growth throughout the season

Creating an environment for strong Clover growth ensures little damage by flea, weevil, or any other predator, other than grazing ruminants. Clover stem length increases with larger leaves obvious at the top of the sward.

It is possible and we have monitoring work that clearly shows Clovers are able to provide sufficient nitrogen for high producing intensive dairy farming. This work also highlights ongoing increases in total pasture production.

A Typical Analysis of CalciZest

As CalciZest is a natural product, it is not possible to guarantee analysis to be absolute. Each mix produced will be such that there will be no significant difference in results obtained.

Calcium Ca - 21%
Processed Organic Matter - 20%

The information in this article was current at 02 Dec 2011

Keywords: Grass, Pasture

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