Whatever you decide, a BioAg fertility program can improve your returns.

For farmers in areas relying on irrigation, the question of what to sow is not an easy one.

Above all other factors is water allocation.

And next in line is understanding how to maximise the returns from whatever crop you sow.

Make the most of any water allocation

Water allocation in the Murray and Murrumbidgee basins is a hot topic that looks likely to continue.

It’s worth remembering that the water needs of cotton, rice and other summer crops are relatively interchangeable. If you have enough water to grow cotton, then you probably have enough water to grow rice, or sunflowers, or corn.

And regardless of how water allocations end up or which crop you choose, healthy soil underpins water use efficiency and provides plants with better access to whatever moisture is available. Good soil structure allows water absorption and a healthy population of beneficial microbes improves the health of the plant’s root system and the plant’s ability to efficiently access nutrients and moisture.

Factors influencing price in 2020

2020 is a year associated with change and volatility.

Forward selling of cotton is a hedge growers use to lock in prices, but the impacts of Covid-19 on trade with China are seeing futures prices for cotton fall well below the $600-$650 a bale.

Rice, on the other hand, is seeing a price increase, with a significant jump in February and March that exceeds anything we’ve seen since 2008. And the price is still rising.

As always with farming, there are risks. The decision of what to plant is one that growers must weigh up against their business goals as well as the capability of individual fields to sustain a crop and provide an acceptable quality and yield.

A BioAg program can improve returns on any summer crop

Independent and on-farm trials on cotton, corn and rice have shown that a BioAg program provides yield and quality improvements over crops that use a conventional fertiliser program.

Images from a 2019/2020 crop in the Riverina. Corn cobs from plants treated with Soil & Seed (left) with the kernels extending all the way to the tip of the cob, compared to untreated examples (right).

In independent replicated trials from 2013 to 2018, cotton crops using a BioAg program achieved average yield increases ranging from 13% to 27% [1]with a BioAg program.

Rice Research Australia (RRAPL) conducted independent trials on rice with 3L/Ha providing the highest return. The result was a 14% yield increase above the control, a grower return of more than $600/Ha (1100% ROI on applied product.[2] 

The BioAg approach

BioAg fertility programs aim to produce a balanced and healthy soil.

A BioAg program is tailored to your farm by analysing the results of soil and /or tissue tests alongside the location, history and characteristics of the block, as well as your budget and your goals for yield and quality.

Application of ameliorants and slow release P fertilisers is common practice for a number of leading growers in the Valleys. Soil tests identify nutrient requirements and issues with calcium, pH, cations or other soil attributes.

We can develop a complete program, or one that supplements your existing fertiliser regime. A BioAg program can also be designed to meet the needs of organic farmers.

A BioAg program typically incorporates BioAg solid fertilisers and liquid biostimulants into your existing fertiliser practice. Application methods vary depending on the type of crop and your preferred approach.

Easy application, in line with your current practice

BioAg solid fertilisers can be applied with a belt spreader.

BioAg liquid biostimulants are compatible with most liquid products applied on crops and can be applied via injection, spray or fertigation systems.

Next steps

As soon as this year’s summer crop is done, or before the end of winter, contact your local BioAg Area Manager or distributor and arrange a soil test or analysis of existing soil test results.

We can help you with a full program, or a program that supplements an existing conventional fertiliser regime. We can also tailor a program for organic enterprises.

[1] Independent replicated trials assessing yield increases using a BioAg biostimulants overlaid on standard grower practice. Included trials with 15% less nitrogen which showed significant yield increases. https://www.bioag.com.au/trials/yield-benefits-of-bioag-liquids/

[2] . https://www.bioag.com.au/trials/increased-rice-yields-with-soil-seed/

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