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14 SmartFarmer •
Rural Industry Specialist
Peats cultured compost
reduces soil leaching
OAKVILLE Potatoes -- based
near the River Murray at
Nildottie -- produce about
50,000 tonnes of potatoes, which are
sold into Sydney every year.
The reason the company has estab-
lished its potato production in South
Australia is because of the irrigation
provided by the River Murray, and
the sandy soils which are ideal for
the clean looking potato finish.
However, the issue with the sandy
soil is that its ability to hold water is
The large pores in the sandy soil
promote highly permeable soils,
which result in the loss of both water
and fertiliser from the root zone.
The sandy soils are providing a
good skin finish on the potatoes but
are causing issues in the soil and cre-
ating huge water and fertiliser costs.
Peats Soil worked closely with
Oakville farm manager Richie
Hartely to tailor-make a product that
was suitable to go through their
spreader and that would contain
enough organic matter to make the
changes that they required in the
Compost in a sandy soil, like the
soil types at Nildottie, can help sta-
bilise soil permeability as well as cre-
ating more positive charge in the soil
that will act as a catalyst for holding
water and fertiliser in the root zone.
The organic matter in the compost
acts as a binding agent for the soil's
pores providing strengthened soil
Organic matter is vital for good soil
health and adding quality compost
with organic carbon to the soil helps
to improve soil condition.
Australian soils are generally low
in organic carbon -- one of the key
indicators of soil fertility.
Increasing organic matter -- and
organic carbon -- by using quality
compost improves soil fertility and
promotes healthy plant growth.
Compost also provides the soil with
a range of important nutrients that
are essential for plant growth.
As a result, the water and fertiliser
flow will work horizontally and
downward. This will help the water
and fertiliser be readily available to
the potatoes as well as creating
Adding compost into the fertiliser
rotation will make these changes in
the soil, while also adding vital
organic matter, nitrogen and phos-
Even though the trial has not
reached completion, fertiliser use at
Oakville potatoes is already down 30
Peats Soil and Garden Supplies
managing director Peter Wadewitz
said the Oakville Potatoes trial
results showed the potential impact
of compost application.
"If you get that recipe right by tai-
loring the mix for specific soil type
and land use, the results are remark-
able, as we have seen with this par-
ticular trial," Mr Wadewitz said.
Peats Soil's cultured compost can
be tailored to suit the needs of the
Peats Soil can also provide soil
testing and agronomy advice to any
customers that require it.
The company has a wide range of
products available in bags and bulk,
including seed raising mixes, soil
conditioners, potting mixes, organic
blends, loams, mulches and much
Peats Soil has scientists and profes-
sionals in the industry working
everyday to help improve their prod-
ucts that are certified and tested to
meet Australian standards.
• Need to know more?
Peats Soil and Garden Supplies 8556
The application of Peats cultured compost to sandy soils at Nildottie has
increased the soil's ability to hold water.
WHO: Oakville Potatoes
WHERE: Nildottie, South Australia
WHAT: Centre Pivot potato farming
Help the sandy soil's water and
nutrient holding capacity
Stop fertiliser and water loss
through rapid leaching using Peats
soils cultured compost
Fertiliser use is down 30 per cent
Visible changes in the soil
Positive growth response
Mulches, Soils & Composts
Horticulture & Landscape
Ph 08 8556 5295
Come and see us at
the Lucindale Field
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