Alan Colgrave: Increasing organic carbon on sandy soils

Fifth generation cane farmer Alan Colgrave farms 100 hectares in Mourilyan. Located in low wet country with light sandy soils across most of his farm, he sees increasing his organic carbon levels as being the key to improving his productivity.

Over the years he’s made a lot of changes to address this including adopting green cane trash blanketing in fallow and moving to 100% fallow plant. He has also moved to wider rows with all of this tractors and farm equipment matched to the same centres.

Alan has used mill mud in the past on both plant cane and ratoons but due to cost has decided to shift to a granular fertiliser program. While making this change, he found it useful to get a second opinion on his nutrient management by working with WTSIP extension officer Bob Stewart on the development of a whole of farm nutrient management plan.

“Having a nutrient management plan has really helped simplify my nutrient management and working with Bob has also enabled me to be a bit more scientific about trying out some new things. I was interested in trying Entrench as a denitrification inhibitor, so we did some replicated trials on acre plots for two years, and we’ve also put out some trace elements on areas of low productivity. The results have shown some differences, but nothing major,” he said.

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