The Ocean2earth product developed in Eden on the NSW Far South Coast from fishery and forestry waste has shocked soil health experts after the mixture was sprayed onto a paddock with remarkable results.
A Candelo dairy farmer, who was advised by an agronomist to spray an insecticide on his paddock, was pleasantly surprised after the Ocean2earth product deterred redlegged earth mite and keep frost away.
In May, the farmer sprayed the paddock with a tailored Ocean2earth foliar. The intention was to raise the sugar levels (called brix) within the pasture crop because insects don't eat plants with high sugar levels.
The plan immediately worked to deter the pest as the brix doubled within the first two hours after application. But it had another surprising outcome.
Three months later, the paddock was spared from a frost that covered the rest of the district after minus three temperatures.
Soil consultant and farmer Bruce Davison has been working with Ocean2earth to help develop their product range and assisted in developing the formula for the Candelo property.
He said by using the product, the farmer avoided applying an insecticide which would have had, "detrimental effects".
He said insecticides "kill good bugs as well as the ones you don't want" and filters down into the soil to feed the microarthropods in the soil that are recycling nutrients.
He also said it would be better for an animal's health and digestion as it would increase the microbial diversity in their gut microbiome.
Mr Davison said to determine exact causes of frost avoidance would require further investigation, but hypothesised it was due to the high sugar levels in the sap of the plant - increasing its ability to photosynthesise.
"The plant then has the ability to put more carbohydrates into the soil from its roots that feed microbes and then you get an increase in microbial density, which causes a rise in temperature due to reproduction."
Development of the product by Eden brothers Tim and Kyran Crane has been ongoing over the last four years, with the meticulous research period only just beginning.
"That dairy farm was the first farm we did that trial on," Tim said.
But he had been trialling it on his own property in Kiah with surprising results. A thick clover coverage had managed to grow on bare rock and shale.
"I've got trial plots where it's just shale and rock and I've got probably the healthiest pasture in the district."
It was on Tim's own property where the Candelo dairy farmer was convinced by the efficacy of the product. He was blown away by how solid the steams of the grasses were.
"On a lot of other stems where you use chemical fertilisers you get hollow steams, so that can be up to one third of your actual weight that's going into your stock," Tim said.
For many farmers the major factor in using the product or not would be the cost, as it is a premium product.
But along with soil experts, Tim has been working to create a powdered extract mix that could be used on larger scale operations.
"Once you start doing these compost tea extracts, that really brings the price down.
"In the Candelo trial we only used 10L of compost power per hectare, because in each gram of our compost powder there's over 600,000 different microbes and yeasts."
Mr Davison backed this claim up and said the cost was less than the amount needed to spend on enough granular fertiliser or compost matter to increase soil health and fertility.
"Especially in today's high fertiliser prices."
"I've analysed a lot of other composts from commercial companies and they don't come close to Ocean2earth. The mineral balances are tailored to suit the nutritional needs of plants," he said.
At the moment, Ocean2earth has focused on stocking local garden centres and nurseries, but the company has been getting interest from Australian, and even international farmers and councils.
It seems these kind of results were only the beginning for this power-duo from Eden.
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