Scott Edwards, of Diamondvale Pasture and Farm Improvements, fertilises a second paddock on the farm with the liquid organic soil conditioner diluted in a 200-litre drum of water and sprayed through hoses attached to the tynes of a tractor’s Yeoman ripper.

 

Back view of the rake with 200-litre drum and two pipes feeding the liquid soil conditioner into the ripped soil
Back view of the rake with 200-litre drum and two pipes feeding the liquid soil conditioner into the ripped soil

FOR more than a decade organic soil specialist Bevan McLeod has been criss-crossing the country helping farmers of all descriptions improve the health of their farms, pastures and produce. He is a familiar face at countless agricultural and community festivals and home garden expos with his McLeod’s Agriculture Organic Fertiliser stall where his products and success stories are the stuff of ‘bush telegraph, must-have’ advice.

Mr McLeod is a specialist in liquid fertilisers, soil microbes, zeolite, soil minerals, feed supplements and seed distribution. His original and flagship product, McLeod’s Organic Soil Conditioner, is in great demand throughout Australia as the product continues to pass the test of time in flying colours. The product is specially formulated to maintain moisture and improve soil health and boasts a range of minerals and healing products for the soil including microbes, zeolite and aged organic matter.

Recently, Mr McLeod was back on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to work his magic on a boutique droughtmaster cattle farm in the Dulong range area. Five years ago, Mr McLeod was contracted by the farm’s owners, Peter and Marilyn Jones, to treat the top paddock of their 23-hectare farm with McLeod’s Organic Soil Conditioner. At that stage the farm had never been under pasture improvement using organic solutions.

Dulong property owner Marilyn Jones.
Dulong property owner Marilyn Jones.

“We had read about Bevan’s work in Acres Australia,” Mrs Jones said. “Our paddock was a test case and that paddock just stands out from the rest, even after five years.”

Mr McLeod recently returned to the farm to treat another paddock for the Jones family. But this time he used one of his newer products, Liquid Organic Soil Conditioner, which has been developed in collaboration with well-known organic fertiliser producer, Robert Jack, from the Brisbane-based Organica Australia Pty Ltd. The new liquid organic soil conditioner, a liquefied version of McLeod’s Organic Soil Conditioner, is extremely cost-effective to use with just 10 litres needed to treat one hectare.

Mr McLeod, with the help of tractor operator and mobile farm contractor Scott Edwards from Diamondvale Pasture and Farm Improvements, fertilised a second paddock on the farm with the liquid organic soil conditioner diluted in a 200-litre drum of water and sprayed through hoses attached to the tynes of a tractor’s Yeoman ripper.

The dry, lifeless soil Bevan Mcleod is treating, with low root stock clumped tight together.
The dry, lifeless soil Bevan Mcleod is treating, with low root stock clumped tight together.

It was tough and slow going for the two-man team. The soil was so compacted and rock-hard that the ripper tynes would often get stuck bringing the tractor to a complete halt. Before treating the second paddock, Mr McLeod conducted a soil test to determine the health of the soil and what nutrients it lacked – in this case gypsum, phosphate, silica, calcium and sulphur.

So, as well as the liquid soil conditioner, the spray drum mixture also included Robert Jack’s Organica Pho-S-Si-Cal Biologic and Organica Bio Gypsum Biologic and Biotrace. These imputs are also economical to use. “These products give the soil immediate phosphate, silica, bio gypsum, calcium and sulphur,” Mr McLeod said. “These, combined with the soil conditioner, help loosen and invigorate the soil.

“Once you put the biological imputs on paddocks you end up with a lot more root mass under the ground. You have sustainability and soil health lasts much longer. It gives balance back into the soil.

“Ordinary compost won’t give it the oomph. And chemical fertiliser wipes out the clover,” he said. “But you need to get soil tests done so that it is not hit and miss, that way you know where you are going.

Bevan checks the soil from the top paddock treated five years ago with his Organic Soil Conditioner.
Bevan checks the soil from the top paddock treated five years ago with his Organic Soil Conditioner.
The soil is alive, moist, has much root stock activity and earthworms.
The soil is alive, moist, has much root stock activity and earthworms.

“Five years ago I treated the top paddock here (at Dulong) with my soil conditioner and that block is still producing pasture. The owners had a similar paddock done with chemicals. I don’t think they got 12 months out of it,” Mr McLeod said.

And the proof is in the soil right under your feet. A recent visit to the top paddock, treated with McLeod’s Organic Soil Conditioner five years ago, tells the story. While the second paddock (currently being treated) was hard and the soil clumped, dry and lifeless with little root stock, the soil in the top paddock was “alive”. The first shovel sample to test its health produced earthworms, moist soil and very healthy roots.

“The proof is when you put a shovel in the ground and you can see the microbes working, you can see the healthier root stock, beetles and crickets – there is life in the soil,” Mr McLeod said. “Scott and I had originally planned to rake that top paddock just to aerate it but we did one row with the ripper and we turned up so many earthworms that we decided to leave them be. The soil was just so friable.

“At another property I have worked on, after three years the soil was so soft that you could leave footprints in the ground. When it rained the paddock absorbed water but with the other untreated paddocks the water just laid there,” Mr McLeod said.

McLeod’s Organic Soil Conditioner is a totally balanced organic fertiliser with a PH reading of 6.95. It improves soil fertility by enhancing biological activity and is BFA certified organic. The product contains nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, humates, sulphur, calcium, a full range of chelated trace elements, fulvates, alginates, Vitamin B1, sugars, kelp extracts, cytokynans and auxins.

“I designed the soil conditioner to introduce and feed a broad spectrum of micro-biological life,” Mr McLeod said.

“Agriculture is dependent on microbes to maintain a biological balance of the soil, thus they are essential for the growth of crops. More than a thousand-million microbes can be found in only one gram of soil and there may be more than 10,000 different species of microbes in the soil.

“Using soil conditioners helps increase moisture infiltration and retention in your soil and promotes exceptional growth in plants,” he said.

“This helps improve the shelf life and quality of products such as fruit, vegetables and flowers, and increases soil mass and growth.”

4/04/2013
Acres Australia Archives – Issue #100