Calcium is perhaps the most important mineral in the soil, significantly influencing numerous chemical, physical and biological processes.
Magnesium is important as an anti-cancer agent and for reducing parasites on stock, e.g. fly strike, barbers pole worm and many others. It is often the missing link for hypomagnaseamia (grass tetany) or downer cows.
Excessive phosphate locks up whatever calcium and magnesium is present, denying the plant the ability to synthesise both quality protein and quality forage calories in the form of pectins and hemi-cellulose.
Potassium is involved in nearly every aspect of plant growth, and is needed to convert nitrogen into protein, thereby reducing the amount of non-protein nitrogen (nitrate) in the system.
Sulphur is required for the formation of vitamins and chlorophyll, and deficiency symptoms can include small and spindly plants, delayed maturity, reduced nodulation in legumes, and fruits that do not fully mature.
Good nitrogen management is one of the most important issues in our quest to build both profitability and sustainability, and each hectare has the equivalent of over 74,000 tonnes of nitrogen above it in the atmosphere.
Silicon can improve drought resistance, increase root growth, boost yield, and enhance crop quality, among many other benefits, and yet most soil tests do not even monitor its presence.
Sodium is rarely deficient, but there are negative effects from it being in excess. If sodium is in excess, we correct the calcium first, then use sulphur to reduce sodium if needed.
Boron is essential for cell division and development, particularly in the growing points of shoots and roots, and also for promoting flowering. It affects pollination, pollen viability, and fruit and seed set.
Iron draws heat into the leaf, promoting growth. It is the most abundant element in the earth but is not always plant available. Humic acid may be a key to making it available.
Manganese accelerates seed germination and early maturity of crops and is important for nitrogen metabolism. Symptoms of manganese deficiency include decreased signs of oestrus and poor conception; ‘knuckled under’ legs in new born calves; or an excess of bull calves.
Copper is widely used and abused as a fungicide, resulting in a toxic build-up in the soil, but Humic acid can help to buffer the microbe-killing effect.
Zinc regulates plant sugar and transforms carbohydrates and is critical for uptake of moisture through roots. Crops sensitive to Zinc deficiency are; maize, linseed, green beans, fruit crops, pastures and cereals.
Cobalt has an indispensable role in vitamin B12 production and contributes to resistance against parasites and infection, in concert with other trace elements such as copper, zinc and iron.
Selenium deficiency symptoms include weepy eyes, white muscle disease, retained placenta, zigzag pattern droppings, and low tail carriage.
Low level molybdenum toxicity can seriously affect fertility. Molybdenum needs to be at 1ppm in the soil. We have seen dozens of soil tests where it is around 6-8 ppm.