Several growers from the riverland district of Renmark North-Cooltong have embarked on biological programs in search of improvements in yield, quality, environmental sustainability and reductions in pesticide & fungicide use on their prospective properties.
One of those growers, Jim Belehis, has doubled his almond yields in two years and has not used ammonium nitrate in the last five years of production. Prior to this, ammonium nitrate was standard practice for Jim, with poor results making him look for alternatives. A shift to animal manure composts blended with biologically active brown coal Bio-Humate (FF50), has changed his views on synthetic NPK applied products.
Jim agrees, that by blending natural fertilisers with a humate base improves the retention of the products used, maximising their effect whilst promoting and stimulating the biological component. According to his wholesale merchant and consumers who try his almonds, Jim’s almonds have a better flavour, colour and crispness they don’t get from others.
“There is a flavour difference and consumers have noticed it, like it and pay extra for it.” says Jim. Jim has developed a new block and planted another 6000 trees using Ferbon ‘OF10’ high carbon fertiliser in the backfill of the planting holes. The result is that the trees are looking like clones of each other, with growth rates practically identical down every row.