In this episode Josh Verhoek from Ballance and Elton Mayo from the Farmlands Agronomy team join REX host Dom George, to delve into a myriad of essential practices and considerations for optimizing crop and grass growth during autumn. Mayo starts the discussion by emphasising the 'six Ps' of agriculture.
"Prior preparation prevents piss poor performance," he says - highlighting the critical nature of attention to detail, asserting that failures in crop or grass establishment are often due to small oversights.
He provides concrete examples, such as the costly consequences of neglecting proper insecticide use or omitting slug bait and seed treatment. Discussing the importance of sowing depth, he shares, "Clover drilled at 12 millimetres will have about 75% survival. If we get down to 25mm, we're only looking at 50% legume survival."
Mayo further stresses the significance of soil cultivation, firm seedbeds, and seed-to-soil contact, suggesting that rolling the soil, which costs less than $100 a hectare, can significantly improve crop strikes.
On the topic of chemical application, Mayo cautions against relying solely on glyphosate, advocating for the use of the right surfactants and tank partners to manage hard-to-control weeds.
He insists, "You can't shortcut a shortcut," reinforcing the idea that meticulous care and patience are crucial for successful autumn farming.
Josh Verhoek also brings his expertise to the table, discussing soil pH and fertilisation strategies. He underscores the importance of early lime application due to its slow reaction time, sometimes requiring up to 18 months for desired effects.
Verhoek then turns to starter fertilisers, mentioning products like the YARA range or DAP.
"Phosphate is critically important ... getting the phosphate as close to the seed as possible to get the best possible start," Verhoek says.
The conversation also covers the four R’s of nutrient application: the right product, rate, time, and place, which Verhoek describes as "our nice, simple way of running through those factors and getting those choices correct."
He highlights the difference between cultivated and direct-drilled soils, explaining the increased importance of starter fertilisers in direct drilling, due to the lack of mineralisation and nutrient release occuring with soil cultivation.
In closing, the episode emphasises the value of making early decisions regarding seed and chemical selection. Elton Mayo advises, "The best decisions are decisions that are made early," advocating for advanced planning to ensure farmers get what they need when they need it.
Listen to the full chat between Elton Mayo, Josh Verhoek and Dominic George above.