Birchip,Vic Cropping: Enhancing
Soil Health, Yield and Profits

Brothers Nathan and Colin Kemp farm 5000 acres (2024 Ha) at Birchip, Vic. Rainfall Annual Ave 330mm. The farm operation includes 5,000 lambs and a 1,200 head piggery.

Crops grown are Cereals: wheat and barley and Pulses: lentils, field peas and vetch. Soil type various Clay, black loam and sand. The Kemp family farm had always been conventional, with Nathan and Colin’s father being very skeptical of other systems. However, the Kemp family have always had a  discipline of “Test/Trial and Grow” in which they implement new processes / products on farm and those that succeed get implemented on a larger area, which is expanded again if successful.

The Kemp family began working with LawrieCo 7 years ago, over this time they have tested and expanded implementation of the products to the whole farm as they saw benefits.

Nathan is extremely happy with the farm results as they have improved water use efficiency; with 2023 Barley yielding 40 bags / acre (6.6 t/ha) in the worst season they have had for several years. He is also receiving praise from his accountant, who reports their returns are as high as growers with 10,000- acre (4000 ha) farms in that area.

All crops are sown with SureCrop VAM seed treatment, which is a blend of Biostimulants, biology and nutrition. In the Kemps paddock evaluation of SureCrop VAM; Wheat stooling counts doubled – with 20 stalks in untreated to 40 stalks with seed treatment in a 30cm strip.

Rodney Capon – Area Manager for LawrieCo and the Kemp family’s trusted advisor comments “SureCrop VAM builds extensive root structures, boosts germination and sets up a functional biological environment with its Bacillus, Trichoderma and Mycorrhizal species optimizing plant access to soil nutrition and moisture.“

At seeding pulses are sown with Single Super and Cereals with a MAP/Urea blend. This year these fertilisers will be coated with LawrieCo Enhance a biological coating, that stabilizes nutrients and buffers biology from their acidity.

Urea use on farm is down from average spend of $180,000 to $50,000 per annum.

With NO YIELD LOSS – the Kemps are now achieving Improved Yields!

With LawrieCo’s support Nathan & Colin now use dissolved urea at 22kg/ha, pairing this with 2L/ha PhosCal and 2L/ha BOOST. These foliars are applied at 8 weeks and again at 12 weeks with LawrieCo ZMC. A third foliar will be applied if the season potential allows. In the past Urea was broadcast at 130kg in crop. Rodney supported Nathan in the transition to foliar nitrogen. He says

“Soil applied Urea needs to go through many conversion processes before plant roots can take it up. Dissolved urea as a foliar immediately enters through the leaf as available amine nitrogen. Growers are now using LawrieCo’s N-Carb to achieve results with much less but targeted and buffered N.”

Colin is impressed with the improvements to the farm chemical program. He has been implementing pH lowering with LawrieCo Citric and buffers all chemicals with 100ml/ha of LawrieCo F75 Fulvic. Colin comments “These practices have allowed us to lower chemical application rates; to the minimum label amount and we achieve a better kill rate.”

They now use this system with all herbicides, fungicide and insecticide – with the exception of residual Ag-Chem. Rodney comments “F75 helps to breakdown chemicals in the soil, improving the environment for beneficial soil biology. For this reason, we do not suggest F75 use with residual chemicals as their use is intended to be prolonged.”

Soil health has taken a positive turn on farm also. Nathan and Colin now often find mushrooms in the cropping ground, where they previously would only find along fence lines and NEVER in the cropping ground. “Our soil is now much softer and friable. We really appreciate the support Rodney and LawrieCo have given us on this journey. We used to mix kelp and other things ourselves, but the outcomes of products like Boost in comparison are just amazing. We have also started a soil carbon project with the support of LawrieCo. We really appreciate what LawrieCo has done and the ongoing support and quality products. The benefits for our farm are extremely valuable “

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