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Trace mineral management
crucial for healthy soils
By JOHN NORTON
A trace mineral deficiency can affect
yield, reproduction, nodulation and
chlorophyll density, reduce immunity
to disease or create weed issues, all of
which will impact profitability. Here
are some guidelines to help you man-
age trace mineral nutrition:
• It is much more effective to apply
trace minerals as foliar sprays, com-
pared to soil applications. The stom-
ates on the underside of the leaf serve
as direct entry points for foliar nutri-
tion. Uptake efficiency can be further
improved if the trace mineral is com-
bined with fulvic acid. Another system
-- the 'Shuttle' -- delivers minerals
through any part of the plant surface,
including stems and the top side of
• Seed treatment is cost-effective.
The mineral package should always
include core trace minerals such as
zinc, copper and calcium, molybdenum
and cobalt but the most important
component is manganese -- the 'ele-
ment of life'.
• Boron is most required immedi-
ately before flowering. It is critically
important for pollination and many
other reproductive functions.
• Molybdenum is a keystone of
nitrogenase, the enzyme which
enables nitrogen-fixing organisms to
convert nitrous oxide gas in the
atmosphere into ammonium nitrogen
in the soil. It is also required to manu-
facture the nitrate reductase enzyme
which is needed to convert nitrate
nitrogen, stored in the leaf, into pro-
• It is best to supply trace minerals
to livestock through a mineralised
pasture rather than a mineral supple-
ment. It will cost more upfront but
deliver minerals for years to come
while a supplement offers only a
• Selenium is a mineral that most
livestock producers include in their
animal supplements because a short-
age is linked to white muscle disease
and other ailments. Recent research
has shown that selenium may protect
crops from UV damage.
• It is really common where trace
minerals are marginal for the applica-
tion of one trace mineral to induce a
deficiency of another. The trick to
avoid induced deficiencies is to
include a little of everything else when
applying a trace mineral in marginal
conditions. The popular NTS trace min-
eral mix, Shuttle Sevenâ"¢, has excep-
tional levels of all seven trace
minerals. The inclusion of as little as
half a litre of this blend with the main
trace mineral you are applying can
prevent induced deficiency.
• Zinc can have more impact on
yield than any other trace mineral
because it is directly linked to leaf
size. Auxins are the plant hormone
that is most involved in determining
leaf size and zinc governs auxin pro-
• Silica is a cell strengthener and an
immune elicitor of considerable impor-
tance in proactive agriculture. If your
goal is to reduce your dependence
upon expensive farm chemicals then
the first step is to strengthen up the
cell walls with silica and calcium.
• All micro nutrients are as impor-
tant for micro-organisms as they are
for plant life.
• Need to know more?
Bio-Tech Organics 08 83808554 or
John Norton on 0412 305 158
small area producers
At Mayura Station, Scott de
Bruin has developed a
reputation, through a sampling
process with chefs, to get his
product onto menus of
have been working hard to develop
a more sophisticated palate
types of cheese.
As successful as the business is,
Ms Lloyd does not want to expand
Mayura Station has won a number
of awards for its premium quality
Wagyu beef, including a gold medal
at the 2010 Delicious Produce Awards.
Managing partner at the family
business Scott de Bruin says a lot of
hard work went into getting the
company where it is today.
"What we did, importing some of
the first full-blood Wagyu cattle,
didn't give us any pathways to fol-
low," he said.
"We developed a reputation
through a sampling process with
chefs, getting the product onto
menus of exclusive restaurants.
"People are looking for brands
that provide a consistent quality out-
come. They also want to know the
story behind what they're buying,
and the farming practices involved."
Scott believes there has been
greater demand for high-quality
product in recent times. "There's
been the rise of celebrity chefs, and
food as culture," he said.
"Food is not just a commodity
now, its an experience."
RIO Vista Olives' Helen Lorenzetti (pictured with her hus-
band Augusto) has a pretty simple explanation for the suc-
cess of the Mypolonga olive grove and processing plant the
"We started bottling our olive oil
in 2001 and won Gold & Best of
Show Award in the SA compe-
tition that year," she said.
"We approached various
shops, restaurants and gourmet
outlets with samples, and also
did tastings at markets and
shops as well as
at the factory.
"In the follow-
ing year we won
Award in the
tion and have
received awards every year
since, including another
Best of Show in SA in 2008.
"There is no doubt that competition success, backed up
by oil quality, has assisted us to find markets and continues
to do so."
What started as an occupation for Augusto's cancer thera-
py has become a fully-fledged business.
Augusto oversees management of the grove,
including irrigation, fertilising, pruning and keep-
ing it free of weeds with the assistance of local
workers and contractors.
The couple utilises methods learned in Italy
from growers and processors in the industry
there. The equipment they use also
comes from Italy, including two
Olivary Oscillating Comb
Harvesters, which enable the
harvesting of 2000 trees in
14 days, and the Pieralisi
• Need to know more?
Rio Vista Olives 08 8389
Quality drives passion for award-winning oil
Cheesemaker Chris Lloyd says
Australians have been working hard
to develop a more sophisticated
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