We have completed a joint research study with Western Sydney University and the findings are outlined in a report,  Improved Efficiency of Argo-Chemical Fertilisers as a Consequence of Enhanced Soil Treatments: Investigation the Impact of Converte Bio-Fertiliser and Seed Primer on Soil and Plant Health.

Summary of Findings:

  • UNP additions stimulated basal respiration (considered a good predictor of overall biological activity in the soil) by 38% and 41% in Boorowa (wheat) and Laggan (pasture) respectively.
  • There was some evidence that UNP and CSP altered the catabolic abilities of microbial communities in deeper soils (10‐20cm) at Boorowa (wheat), but treatment had limited impact on the catabolic profiles in the upper (0‐10cm) soil layer.
  • The response of potential enzymes activities were variable, but typically stimulated under UNP+CSP additions in Boorowa (wheat) and under UNP additions at Laggan (pasture). This was particularly notable for enzymes associated with N and P cycling, suggesting increased N and P mineralisation under these treatments at the respective sites.
  • UNP additions increased bacterial gene abundance (as a proxy for bacterial biomass) by 36% and 138% in Boorowa (wheat) and Laggan (pasture) respectively. At Boorowa, UNP+CSP increased bacterial gene copies by 55% providing strong evidence that UNP treatment stimulated bacterial growth in these soils.
  • Fungal gene abundance (as a proxy for fungal biomass) was particularly responsive to the bio‐fertiliser treatment at Boorowa (wheat) and observed in both the 0‐10 cm and 10‐20cm soils. There was no evidence that UNP affected fungal abundance at Laggan (pasture).
  • There was no effect of bio‐fertiliser treatment on the diversity of bacterial or fungal communities but each treatment did significantly alter the composition of bacterial and fungal communities at both Boorowa (wheat) and Laggan (pasture) and treatment effects were evidence at both 0‐10 cm and 10‐20 cm. On‐going analysis will provide taxonomic resolution to these treatment effects.
  • UNP significantly increased soil C and N by about 50% at Laggan (pasture). Visual observations of the field showed a greener, denser sward in UNP treated soil (Figure 2) and this likely drove higher plant‐derived C‐inputs into the soil and stimulated microbial (particularly fungal) growth as evidenced by higher gene copy numbers in these soils.
  • Bio‐fertiliser treatment (most notably CSP) increased total grain weight on collected samples at Boorowa.

Read the full report here. You can also read a one page summary here.

Dairy pasture in Brundee, Australia

We were delighted to receive this report from Johannes Meier, a regenerative farmer at Inverell, NSW. The study compared a range of pasture treatments and measured overall production, soil and plant health.

Report Abstract:

Research has shown that pasture soil health and productivity is decreasing worldwide while climate change is increasing the challenges of primary production for graziers. While many primary producers increase their use of chemical fertilizers to boost production, new research indicates that soil fertility is actually increased by soil microbial activity. Using a variety of soil amendments, we tested the hypothesis that applying living microbes plus chemical fertilizers to soil will best increase soil health and pasture production. Using 6 trial plots, various products and combinations of products were applied. Products included plant nutrients (fertilizers), and biological amendments: compost tea extract (a product containing soil microbes), and Converte (a microbe food and stimulant). Soil biology was tested at the start and end of the investigation, and the biomass produced was measured. Soil biology testing showed substantial ecological and financial benefits of biological amendments. Benefits of both products weakened when combined with plant nutrients, and plant nutrients alone were hardly better than the control. Pasture biomass production increased with plant nutrients on first cutting, while biological amendments increased production on second cutting. Further testing over a full growing season will provide more definitive data. The investigation demonstrated that Converte and compost tea extract increased soil biological activity and pasture productivity. Plant nutrients were of some initial value in increasing biomass production, but suppressed soil biological activity. Biological amendments are a cost effective, ecologically beneficial alternative to chemical fertilizers. Used correctly, these products could significantly increase the productivity and health of pasture lands worldwide.

Read Johannes’ full report here.

healthy soil

Terms like “chelated minerals” are often used without much of a definition. So, why is chelation important, how does it work and are all chelated minerals the same?

Chelation increases the availability of nutrients to plants. In soil, chelated minerals are absorbed more rapidly by both plant roots and leaves, and this faster nutrient transfer results in accelerated growth, higher Brix levels and higher yield.

Historically, healthy soil has been rich in organic matter and humus, which resulted in natural chelation. Today, natural and synthetic chelates are routinely added to fertilisers. We’ll talk more about that in a minute, but let’s first look at 6 ways chelates can impact your soil.

  1. Chelators in soil increase the solubility, and thus availability of certain metal micronutrients to plants. For example, in soil with high pH levels, chelating agents will bind insoluble iron, converting it into a water soluble form that is available for plant uptake.

  2. Likewise, chelating agents prevent chemical reactions that turn some nutrients into insoluble compounds that are unavailable to plants.

  3. Chelates can reduce the toxicity of some metal ions to plants by returning their concentration to normal beneficial levels.

  4. Chelates prevent loss of nutrients through leaching, or wash out.

  5. Chelation increases the mobility of nutrients in soil.  This increased mobility enhances the uptake of nutrients by plants.

  6. Chelating agents reduce the growth of plant pathogens by reducing available iron.

Sounds like a great case for chelates, right? Yes, but many of the popular chelating agents currently used in agriculture are inefficient — meaning a large amount of chelating agent is needed to chelate a low percentage of metal ions in the soil. The expense can be huge for farm-scale application.

Converte is different. Converte is built on the work of David Menne, a brilliant chemist who created a completely different chelating system based on natural polysaccharides. Ironically, his work wasn’t intended for agriculture, but a chance discovery led to years of experimentation and refinement that resulted in a major breakthrough in chelation efficiency called the Shuttle System.

In conventional chelation chemistry, agents carry trace elements through the outer cell walls into the plant. Using the Shuttle System, the chelator never actually enters the plant, enabling it to transport nutrients to the plant then return to repeat the process. The net effect is a greatly enhanced uptake of the applied nutrients and greater efficiency of the chelating agents.

Chelating agents are an important step in restoring soil health.

Learn more about Converte Chelating Minerals and our complete nutrition system.