Madura Guano Gold on Macadamia Trees

“I believe Guano Gold to be a good choice. I liked the organic nature of the product and the sustained release of phosphorous. I believe that healthy trees yield healthy crops.”

Gary Ross and family have a 5,000 tree Macadamia Plantation at Dunoon at the picturesque Northern NSW coast. The trees were originally planted in 1997. They grow 6 varieties of Macadamias to cover the variable seasonal growth patterns in the region. Scott Herd, an agronomist from Norco at Lismore conducts regular crop monitoring for pest and disease. Gary made a decision back in 2005 to push for higher production involving pest and disease control as well as using the correct crop nutrition programme. It was at this point Col Barnes; the other Norco Lismore agronomist started analysing Gary’s soil tests and recommending the use of Guano Gold-Kwik Start® as part of the Macadamia Nutrition programme.

NSW macadamia plantation farmer Gary Ross, flanked by Col Barnes and Scott Herd from Norco, says the sustained release of phosphorus achieved with Guano Gold-Kwik Start organic fertiiliser delivers healthy trees and healthy crops.

The macadamia’s are grown on red Kraznozemic soils which historically have been found to tie up Phosphorus leaving it unavailable for plant up take. Col Barnes recommended the use of Guano Gold-Kwik Start® Fertiliser on the trees as a means of overcoming this phosphorus tie up. Gary’s goal was to build up phosphorus levels over time, applying extra when funds allowed to reach maintenance levels. Since 2005 Gary has increased his soil phosphorus levels from a Colwell reading of 30 mg/kg to current levels of over 100 mg/kg which is in the ideal range. Through this period he has reduced the Phosphorus Buffering Index [PBI] of the soil by 140 units. The lower the PBI, the more available phosphorus is to the trees.

Soil pH has been maintained at around the 5.6 for pH water which has been ideal for Macadamias.

Gary has applied Guano Gold-Kwik Start®, sometimes by itself and sometimes in a fertiliser blend with nitrogen and potassium depending on the trees requirements. Zinc, boron and magnesium are applied when needed. Gary commented, "seasonal rain fall affected yields. Higher than average rainfall in 2010 affected flowering and reduced yields in 2011.”

Col Barnes, said "Since using Guano Gold-Kwik Start®, one of the side benefits for Gary has been that the pH levels have been more stable. This has reduced the requirement for liming.  Usually we would expect that growers on other fertiliser programs would need to apply lime or dolomite every 3 to 5 years." Guano Gold-Kwik Start® has a pH of 8.6.

Guano Gold-Kwik Start® contains 12% Phosphorus, 29% Calcium and 10% Silica. These elements are in the natural form of Di Calcic Phosphate. Guano Gold® is a BFA certified organic product mined on the island of Madura in Indonesia. Guano Gold® is a 2-5mm granulated product which can be easily spread through conventional fertiliser applicators. Guano Gold® also contains organic carbon and has a high Cation Exchange capacity of 129 Me per 100 grams. This cation exchange is excellent for Calcium plant uptake.

In terms of phosphorus availability, 50% of the phosphorus in Guano Gold® is citrate soluble (acid soluble) and 50% is an insoluble longer term release form. This enables a quick release of Phosphorus and a sustained release over time.

One of the roles of silica in Guano Gold® allows for an efficient utilisation of the phosphorus by the trees reducing the effect of nutrient lock up. The silica is in the monosalicic acid form which combines with the soil elements that would normally bind with phosphorus. Acidic soils typically have higher levels of available Iron, aluminium or manganese which bind with phosphorus rendering it unavailable for the plants utilization. The silica in Guano Gold® aides in the availability of phosphorus by combining with these elements to form  iron silicate, aluminium or manganese silicate and releases phosphorus in the soluble phosphoric acid form which is available for plant absorption.

Silica along with calcium also has an important role in strengthening cell wall structure in plants which translates to improved fruit shelf life and increased pest and disease resistance.

Gary believes that the benefits of Guano Gold® are self-evident. “I believe Guano Gold-Kwik Start® to be a good choice. I liked the organic nature of the product and the sustained release of phosphorus. I believe that healthy trees yield healthy crops.”


Quotes from Gary Ross & Col Barnes (Norco)

July 2012

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