The Starter Plan

At NTS we begin with a soil test. The Soil TherapyTM service can be an invaluable learning tool and programming guideline. If the soil test reveals a phosphate deficit, we will normally address the shortage with a combination of soluble and slow-release phosphate. Nutri-Phos Soft Rock™ is the slow-release option. This organically certified, natural phosphate becomes available far more rapidly than reactive rock phosphate (hard rock phosphate), but it releases the phosphate load over the entire cropping period. The soluble phosphate component is addressed with a multi-faceted game plan, because we are always aware of the supreme importance of this element. In both organic and conventional situations, we will suggest the use of Phos-LifeTM – a Micronised Mineral Suspension (MMS)TM, which supplies 10% organically buffered, plant-available phosphate and almost 30% soluble calcium in liquid form. Phos-LifeTM is boom-sprayed (broadacre) or fertigated (horticulture) immediately before planting.

Seed treatment or liquid injection will always involve a highly successful and inexpensive approach, which involves a combination of small amounts of four products, two of which are phosphate-based. The program includes the relevant crop-specific Triple Ten™ product, which contains 10% phosphorus in a pH-neutral, biologically balanced form. It also includes Nutri-Life Bio-P™, a microbial inoculum which is a proven phosphate solubiliser that can gradually solubilise the bank of ‘tied up’ phosphate found in most farmed soils. Nutri-Life Bio-P will also enhance the release of natural phosphate inputs like Nutri-Phos Soft Rock™.

Planting blends, using granular fertilisers, should always include some form of soluble phosphate, regardless of phosphate levels in the soil test, i.e. soil test data does not always guarantee the solubility of the soil phosphate measured, and we must have some soluble phosphate at germination to kick-start the photosynthesis process.

In conventional situations, we favour planting blends including either MAP or DAP, depending on the soil pH. The Americans favour MAP in all situations, but we have found that, if these materials are suitably complexed, then either input is valuable. Complexing the acid-treated phosphates is the key to stability. NTS Soluble Humate Granules™, a unique humic acid product in a 2-5 ml soluble granule, have revolutionised the use of MAP and DAP. Both MAP and DAP are notoriously unstable and liable to ‘lock-up’ and become insoluble anytime between six to sixty days after application. When these materials are combined with 5% soluble humic acid granules (5 kg per 100 kg of MAP or DAP), the phosphate is complexed by the humic acid as the respective granules dissolve together. The phosphate then becomes a phosphate humate, which prevents the phosphate from forming insoluble compounds with calcium in alkaline soils or iron and aluminium in acidic soils.

In organic situations, we suggest the use of NTS Guano Granules™, which contain 15% phosphate (a third of which is citrate-soluble). Like MAP, these granules can also be combined with NTS Soluble Humate Granules™ (now BFA certified) to improve phosphate performance.

If a soil test reveals a serious zinc deficiency, we may have to introduce our Micronised Mineral Suspension (MMS)TM – Zinc-LifeTM, which contains 65% zinc in a bio-available form. Zinc is particularly important from a photosynthesis perspective, because it plays a double role. Zinc is one of the important chlorophyll builders, but it also governs the production of the auxin growth promotant, which determines the size of the leaf. Leaf size magnifies the potential for effective photosynthesis, as the leaf is essentially a solar panel collecting sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to produce glucose in the chloroplasts. This is why zinc can provide a more pronounced response than any other trace element, if it is deficient.