Dr Clive Dalton

Dr Clive Dalton

The cattle tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) is well established in New Zealand.

chemical elements in fertiliserThere are at least 19 chemical elements required for plant growth. Each chemical element has one or more specific functions within the plant, which cannot be taken over by another. As the plant grows, the daily demand for nutrients increases. Of the major nutrients, Mg is essential for both plant and animal growth and health, and K and Na are often involved in animal health issues.

soilIt’s an easy concept to think of the soil as a bank.  If you remove nutrients in products sold off the farm, then you need to replace them to keep a state of ‘nutrient balance’ in the bank.

sheep grazingThe word 'refugia' seemed to appear out of the blue about 5-6 years ago, and was used by veterinarians and parasitologists when talking to farmers about worms (internal parasites) in sheep and in cattle.

organic matterThere's nothing that fuels arguments between the proponents of 'chemical fertilisers' and supporters of 'biological farming, organic farming and biodynamics' farming, than the subject of Organic Matter.  Then when you include the word 'Humus' into the discussion, things can get really heated.

soilYou cannot consider fertilisers without knowledge of the soil.  The key points will only be touched on here.  In geological terms, New Zealand it's a very young country, with major ash storms from volcanos being deposited as recently as 1300AD. NZ Soils have all been surveyed, described, and mapped by what used to be the government's Soil Survey.

fertiliser basicsIn this first on an in-depth series on understanding fertilser, Dr Clive Dalton looks at why there is so much confusion about what fertiliser is and what is does. He also gives a brief history of fertiliser.

DagswFaecal Egg Counts measure the eggs per gram of faeces (epg) that pass through a sheep and hence the worm load.

The broiler chicken industry shows what can be achieved by applied science. 

The carbon forestOne thing is for sure - if you thought the whole business of making money from 'farming carbon' was complicated, you were terribly wrong. It's much more complicated than you could imagine.  It's mind boggling to think of the work that went into getting this whole carbon business worked out for New Zealand. 

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