This product has only been marketed in Australia in recent years. Coal based fertilizers have been used in the UK for hundreds of years. At the moment most of this product is being exported to Italy and India.
The base product is a very special brown coal, which is only found in Texas, Canada and Bacchus Marsh in Victoria. It is pure organic carbon with thousands of types of bacteria and fungi living in its makeup. These are the active ingredients that make the soil live again and break down the nutrients in the soil to provide the plant food. This includes the nitrogen to make the grass grow and the trace elements that are so vital to animal and plant health. It is made in acid or alkaline mixes to suit your soil.
The chemical makeup also assists in locking up the aluminum in the soil, which is the chemical that makes the ground acid, and eventually stops the lime from neutralizing the acid in the soil. This product also breaks up the clay particles to make the soil more friable and accessible to retaining moisture in the soil profile. The product can hold 4 to 5 times its own weight in moisture in the soil. This can extend your growing season in dry times, especially in sandy soils.
When we put Superphosphate on the ground, we know from Dept of Ag studies in 1952, that 50% of the Phosphorus is immediately locked up, and is not available to the plants. Although Humus plus 4 has low phosphorus in its makeup, it can unlock and make available this trapped phosphorus and utilize it until the bank in the soil is exhausted. You will then need to add Superphosphate to the ground again. I have not had to apply super on my property for the last 11 years, and I still have no adverse effects. This will mean that you will use less phosphorus to obtain the same result. By encouraging the plants to root deeper in the soil, they will get more minerals and trace elements, which leads to healthier animals and crops. This will also mean that excess chemical is not getting washed into our creeks and rivers.
Many of our heavier soils have been farmed for 100 years or more now, and we have used up the humic material that should be there naturally. This organic matter is where the bacteria, fungi and worms live, and without this environment, they cannot keep producing the way they did previously.
Because we now chemically feed the plants at the surface, the roots have no need to go deep to get the nutriments they need, and so we end up with a shallow system that dries out very quickly and the plants” burnoff “, and loss of production is experienced. The product quickly works its way into the soil, encouraging the root systems to go deeper where the best nutrients are located. When sowing crops, Humus+4 can be sown with the seed and will assist the germination and early start to your crop. Cereal crops in trials have risen from 10 bags to the acre to 30 bags in 12 months. It should be a normal practice to include the product at the sowing of any crop to get the best results.This material can be mixed with any other fertilizers or soil conditioners and is an approved organic product. It will not burn or affect the plant or soil if applied direct, nor do animals have to be removed from the paddock when it is applied. Animals actually like to lick the material. It does improve their health and therefore the value of the animal. Best of all, it is not an expensive product to use.
This is a question I am often asked and due to the many and varied answers, I struggle to answer easily. I shall endeavour to explain it in terms that most farmers and gardeners can understand. I am not a scientist, but I am a farmer with an inquiring brain, and this is evident to me. I hope it is to you also.
Humus is simply organic matter or carbon. Organic carbon is the building block of everything that is in the soil’s environment. It is important to the health and condition of the soil, everything on the soil and every thing that is in our environment. It is important to the health and condition of the soil and all that lives within the soil. It also affects all that lives on the soil.
I know that this is a big statement, but this is knowledge that has been known for hundreds of years. If your soil is not in good health, you will not grow good crops and those poor crops will not produce healthy livestock or even humans.
Humus plus 4 is a very young coal which is still full of natural bacteria, fungi and other microbes. This type of is found is 3 locations in the world. We are fortunate to have a location in Victoria. It is compost a very large scale. It also has the ability to receive four to five times its own weight in water and store it for future use. The coal particles move deeper into the soil in a reasonably short time and take this moisture with them. This flocculates (opens up) the soil and allows the plants to search deeper for moisture and nutrients. Once the soil is flocculated, the soil animals can move freely between the soil particles, and process the elements into nutrients that the plants can feed on.
Why do you think that weeds do so much better than our introduced plants? The reason is that weeds generally have a large, long tap root that reaches deep into the soil to get the best of the available plant food. This of course, results in weeds out competing other plants and tending to take over the paddock.
The microbes, fungi, bacteria and worms break down the organic matter, the clay and rock particles into food that the plants can handle. Some bacteria turn this food into nitrogen and it is then stored on the root nodules of clover plants. This then becomes available to the grasses to assist with major growth when the soil temperature reaches 14 degrees Celsius.
It is believed that there is more life below the ground than there is on top of the ground. If we took a quarter of a teaspoon of soil, we could count 140,000 forms of life in that amount of soil. There may be many more that we have not yet learned to count.
This is the foundation stone of a sustainable farm or garden. Every time we run a tractor or heavy footed animal over the soil, we kill or damage soil biota and compact the environment that they live and work in. Humus plus 4 helps to reverse this problem. Good healthy soil should act and feel like sponge. It should absorb the water and allow the air to circulate within the body of the ground .Even ploughing or tilling the soil does damage to the life within. This should be kept to a minimum.
Australian soils are the most fragile in the world. The native wildlife are very soft footed and don’t damage the environment. The farm animals that we have imported are much heavier footed and trample and compact the soil, while their sharp hooves cut up the soil profile, leading to pugging, erosion and other problems.
By reducing the weight pressures on the soil, we will gain benefits of more open soil profiles and more stability. The less the soil is disturbed the more benefits that will be seen.
To get more organic carbon into the soil, we need to use more composting materials, more leaf and green materials, more natural carbons such as coal based conditioners, plant based products ( e.g. mulches), to improve the tilth and encourage the soil life to once again do their magic work. With carbon trading looming on the horizon, you may be able to claim credits for using Humus plus4 in the future.
A recent documentary on the ABC television which highlighted the story of the Amazon black soils which proved that it could be done. The Mayan Indians had the knowledge when Cortez plundered their riches, but he missed the biggest jewel of all, their knowledge of the living soil. This knowledge was lost until recently and now world scientists are trying to unravel the secret. The Mayans using their knowledge were able to achieve an 800 per cent increase in production on their poor fertility based soils.
Australian farmers have increased their production from 10 bags of oats to the acre to 30 bags in 18 months, and carrot crops from 25 tons to 35 tons per acre in a similar period. If the scientists are successful, the third world countries will once again be able to feed themselves and we will be able to farm with very few chemical and be sustainable.
Chemicals not only damage the soil biota, they can severely damage us, our families and all products that grow in the soil and all animals that eat them.
From one side of Australia to the other, farmers are asking the same question. The cost of making the soils produce are going up and the output is going down.
In the South Gippsland area at Poowong in 1890, settlers were producing regularly, 20 tons of potatoes to the acre, (50 tonnes per hectare) with artichokes and beans between the rows. Their neighbours were producing 20 tons of onions per acre.
This was done before chemical fertilisers were known, before certified seed and before chemical sprays to stop diseases. Potatoes cropping farmers now expect an average of 12 to 14 tons per acre on dryland cropping.
The secret lies in the composition of the soil. After many years of intensive farming, the organic carbon in the soil is almost depleted. This is giving us tight soils that repel the rain, lock up the nutriments and have virtually no microbes, bacteria or fungi in their makeup.
In other words our soils are no longer alive and our plants are growing on top of the soil, utilizing the chemical inputs that we increasingly throw at them and the whole process is turning the soil more acid, less productive and more vulnerable to climate changes, and eventually to an unsustainable situation. This is also leading to erosion, pugging, salinity and loss of ground cover.
If we look at the soil as the main building block on the land, (every thing that we grow or produce starts there), we need to return it to the natural condition it was in before European settlement and agriculture affected it.
Over the years we have been depleting the organic carbon, the base building block of our soils, alkaline or acid, which in turn has affected the soil life, the worms, microbes and fungi. They require the organic carbon for sustenance and to remake it into nutrients and minerals that in turn feed the plants. The better the condition of the soil, the deeper the plant roots grow, and the more nutrients that are available. This also assists in draining the soil in wet weather and retaining the soil moisture in the dry months. A healthy soil also leads to healthy plants.
The trend for bigger machinery, tractors, trucks, and feed out carts all tend to pack the soil they drive over. By reducing the use of these heavy implements where ever possible, will help, as will confining them to set areas such as farm transit lanes and taking a different route across a paddock each time. This will reduce some of the damage.
Most of our soils are very acid and getting more so all the time. Aluminum is the main culprit in acid soil and it is often not regarded strongly enough. We know from department of Agriculture experiments, that if we spread superphosphate on our soil, the aluminum will lockup 50% of it, and that is no longer available to the plants. Properties that have a good history of superphosphate applications will have a large bank of super available in the soil profile if we could just unlock it. This is where Humus plus4 can come in. The chemical structure is such that it will lock up the aluminum and unlock super and other elements, which will then be available to the plants. On our property we have not used super for eleven years and have had no adverse reaction. Eventually, we will deplete the bank and need to put more phosphorus on, but we have had ten years of saving a lot of money. This possibly applies to other elements too. Even if we halved the amount of super used, it would be a big cost saving and a big help to the environment. As most farms have been growing in the top 80mm of soil, because that is where we have been feeding our plants, our production is getting less and less. Once the soil is flocculated (not ploughed) the plants will reach into this bank of elements and we will have better crops and healthier animals. Couple this with better moisture holding capacity and you will have a longer growing season with better long term results.
A healthy soil will be able to deal with diseases, salinity and pasture pests in a natural way that gives resistance to paddock pests. Most pests prefer to attack unhealthy plants that have no natural resistance.
Humus plus4 is an organic certified product, but is used extensively by commercial farmers in most farming conditions. It is dark brown to black in colour and can be dusty in the summer time. It can be stored out in the open, as rain forms a crust on the surface of the heap and this sheds the rain off it. That also stops the wind from blowing it around.
This product is a large part of the answer to the soil loss in the Mallee region and compacted soils in the southern regions. It will increase the profit and yield in the cropping areas, give better tasting and production in the horticulture industry and livestock are healthier and produce better on Humus plus4 pastures. Cattle are also much quieter because they are getting more trace elements, particularly magnesium, which governs the animal nervous system.
Remember, this product is not an addition to your usual fertilizer program. It can replace that regime in the short term. This can be a large cost saving over a few years and benefit your sustainability and future health and profits.