A farmer and sheep grazier who’s farm is located at Dowerin, in the Central Wheatbelt Region of Western Australia, has been using TM Agricultural (TM Ag) for the past three years and in that time has noticed improvements in his wool and grain quality and the crop’s resilience, which was tested with a dry finish and severe frosts that affected the whole WA Wheatbelt in 2018.

Wheat Crop

The 2018 the wheat crop received 258mm of rain during the growing season and the September rainfall was the driest on record. Which he believes reduced the yield of the crops in the district by about a tonne per hectare. Severe frosts late in the growing season caused damage to the crops in the WA wheatbelt. With the majority of the wheat harvested in WA being APW. Only 20% of the crop in his wheat growing district made it to APW. The rest was ASW and lower.

Despite the harsh finish to the season and being hit with four severe frosts. The TM Ag treated wheat yielded 4t/ha with 10.8% protein which allowed him to sell his grain in the APW1 grade for $400/t. The farmers wheat crop was grown with 50Kg of Agras starter fertiliser and two TM Ag applications. The first was applied with a knock down herbicide application prior to sowing and the second was applied in-crop with 5L/ha of an organic foliar fertiliser.

Beneficial Fungi

It was also noted that after the crop was harvested a very distinct yellow fungi was forming all over the stubble. When he had the fungi tested by the local agronomist it was reported as being a highly beneficial fungi. From the decomposers group which are essential for breaking down woody organic matter. They play an important role in immobilising and retaining nutrients in the soil. The organic acids that Decomposer fungi produce help create soil organic matter that is resistant to degradation. The WA farmer had not ever seen the fungi in his paddocks before. And it’s presence in high populations can be explained as a result of the TM Ag applications. That has been applied for the past three years which has been activating and repopulating the beneficial microbiology.

Soil Microbiology

Active soil microbiology will benefit crops by regulating soil temperature, Improving soil structure enabling a greater root density and depth reducing the susceptibility of plants to root diseases. Increasing water holding capacity through increased organic carbon levels in the soil. Increasing nutrient availability and fertiliser efficiency and increasing the resilience of the plants to environmental stress such as, lack of rain and frosts. These benefits have allowed him to grow the highest protein grain in his district in a tough year.

He also noted that a paddock that had a seed clover sown in it in 1978 that lasted a few years. Started growing the clover back in the paddock again after two years of TM Ag applications. Which he thought was remarkable that the clover returned after not being seen in the paddock for decades. The reason for this would be that the micro biology that has a beneficial relationship with that particular variety of clover has been brought out of it’s dormant state. By the TM Ag applications which enabled the clover seeds in the soil to germinate and grow.

Sheep Wool

He has also noticed that since using TM Ag on his farm over the past three years. That his wool strength (Newtons per kilotex – Nkt) has increased hugely. His 18 micron merino wool clip started increasing its Nkt when TM was first used on the farm in 2016 and by 2017. The Nkt began to rise from 32 up to 53Nkt in April 2018 then 55Nkt in October 2018.

As stated by Australian Wool Innovation Limited, auction data shows that prices improve as staple strength increases. Compared to a baseline 35 Nkt type, penalties are large for tender wools (14-21 Nkt). With discounts declining as strength increases. Wools testing above 40 Nkt attract premiums, particularly at the finer end where discounts or premiums are magnified.

The WA farmer commented that he and his family have been farming on their farm since 1897. And in that time they have never seen such an improvement in Nkt and have never achieved 55Nkt before. He stated that the positive benefit for his family in growing quality wool since using TM Ag. Is that they are able to shear their sheep twice a year now instead of annual shearing. His sheep are fed bales of TM treated oats.

The investment of $25/ha for the two TM Ag applications each year have been more than returned to this WA farmer. Through the financial gains achieved in grain and wool by the benefits of activating his native soil biology.