Gain a better understanding of the difference between guanos available on the markets, the real effective cost of the product and when do you need to use guano in this first article in a series of 12 by agronomist Robert Drewitt.
Guano, A Tale of Two Birds
Article 1 of 12 - written by Robert Drewitt, BcSc(Ag) | Agronomist | Agronomy Services Australasia Pty Ltd
© Copyright in this work is owned by Guano Australia Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times! This might have been the thoughts of the guano miners shovelling and bagging guano from caves to load into bags to bring back to Europe to fertiliser crops. In 1609 Peruvian Guano was first discovered by the western world however, the Incas had been using guano for centuries with strict rules around protecting the sea birds that nested on the Islands. The guano trade began in a commercial form by 1840 when the United States started using guano as its main source of fertiliser. The use of guano created an agricultural boom. United States president at the time, Millard Fillmore said in Congress “The duty of the Government is to employ all means properly in its power to assure guano is imported into this country at a reasonable price.” In 1856 the US Government passed the Guano Island Act which allowed any unclaimed islands to be annexed. So began the hunt for guano to feed the world’s crops.
Today, over 150 years after the 1856 proclamation the world still demands guano as a source of nutrition for crops and pasture. Today however the world is a different place and deposits of guano are not as readily available. Guano has two main types; the fresh Guano from bats and birds that contains nitrogen and older Guano that has been either coralised, or in the case of inland deposits formed into sedimentary rock deposits. The older guanos are high in phosphorus and calcium but contain no nitrogen.
With respect to Australian agriculture the focus is on the older forms that are imported as a source of fertiliser for both the organic and non-organic farming industry. The current imported guanos fall into two main categories; inland, mainly Chinese guano and coastal or sea bird guano from South East Asia; where your Madura Guano Gold® comes from, is very important from an agronomy viewpoint as it determines both how available the phosphorus in the product is and if the product contains beneficial silica at significant levels.
This article is the first of twelve in a series, that will give the reader a good understanding of the difference between guanos available on the markets, the real effective cost of the product, plus when do you need to use guano. We will also look into phosphorus tie-ups, the Phosphorus Buffing Index, as well as Silica’s roll as a beneficial element both in the soil and in the plant.
© 2019 Agronomy Services Australasia Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
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