Improving soil fertility, cost effectively, is a key focus for farmers and gardeners alike. By adopting sustainable, regenerative farming practices, and by applying a few key methods, it is possible to enhance the health of your soil without spending too much money. In this article we share 7 of the top, tried and tested, cost saving methods.
Incorporating practices that attract worms can significantly contribute to improving soil structure and providing plants with the necessary nutrients for optimal growth. Worms are highly beneficial for soil health, as they play a key role in breaking down organic matter, they provide a food source for plants and birds, and improve soil structure.
Top 7 Cost Saving Methods to Improve Soil Fertility
1. Using Seed Inoculants
One of the most effective methods to save money on fertiliser costs is by using biologically activated fertiliser, such as Liquid Seaweed, to inoculate seeds.
Seed inoculation involves applying a small amount of liquid concentrate, typically around 5L per 1 tonne of seed, directly to the seeds before planting. This method introduces beneficial microorganisms to the seeds, which then colonise the soil and root system of the growing plants.
Seed Inoculation Using Biological Fertiliser Uses Only 5 Litres of Concentrate Per 1 Tonne of Seed
The key advantage of using biological fertilisers as seed inoculants is their cost-effectiveness. Compared to conventional synthetic fertilisers, biological alternatives are often more affordable. By reducing dependence on expensive synthetic fertilisers, farmers can significantly cut down on their overall fertiliser costs.
Moreover, biological fertilisers are highly effective at promoting plant growth and improving nutrient uptake. The beneficial microorganisms present in these inoculants help enhance soil fertility. Furthermore, they provide essential nutrients that plants require for healthy growth.
In addition to cost savings and increased effectiveness, using biological fertilisers as seed inoculants also offers environmental benefits. These products are typically derived from natural sources and do not contribute to chemical runoff or pollution that can harm ecosystems.
Overall, incorporating biological fertilisers as seed inoculants presents a practical solution for farmers looking to save on fertiliser costs. And, can be achieved without compromising crop productivity, by harnessing the power of biological fertilisers combined with beneficial microorganisms.
2. Maintaining Cover
Cost saving methods to improve soil fertility can also be achieved by implementing ground cover practices such as using cover crops or mulch. These methods not only help in reducing the need for excessive fertilisers, but also provide numerous other benefits to the soil and plants.
Cover crops, which are typically grown between cash crop seasons, as well as pasture cropping, can help improve soil fertility. This occurs by crops fixing nitrogen, increasing organic matter content, and preventing soil erosion. By incorporating cover crops into your farming rotation, you can reduce the reliance on high analysis fertilisers and potentially save on costs.
Mulching is another effective technique to conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and enhance soil fertility. By applying a layer of organic material such as straw, wood chips, or compost to the soil surface around plants, or in between rows, you can prevent nutrient leaching and evaporation. This reduces the need for frequent fertiliser applications and helps in saving money over time.
It is important to note that while these ground cover practices can significantly reduce fertiliser expenses, they should be implemented alongside proper soil testing and nutrient management strategies. Regular monitoring of soil health and nutrient levels will ensure that your plants receive adequate nutrition while minimising unnecessary or excessive fertiliser use.
By adopting these sustainable practices of using cover crops or mulch as ground cover, farmers and growers can not only save on fertiliser costs, but also promote healthier soils and more resilient plant growth.
3. Well Timed Fertiliser Spray Applications
Number 3 cost saving method to improve soil fertility is through well-timed spray applications. Spraying specifically in the evening or during night time can make a huge difference. By strategically timing the application of fertilisers, farmers and gardeners can optimise their usage and reduce overall expenses.
Late afternoon, evening or night spraying offers several advantages when it comes to saving on fertiliser;
Firstly, cooler temperatures during these times can help prevent excessive evaporation of the applied fertiliser, ensuring that a larger percentage is absorbed by the plants.
Additionally, reduced wind speeds during these hours can minimise drift and ensure that the fertiliser is targeted accurately to its intended areas.
Applying fertilisers in the evening or at night allows for better absorption by plants as they enter a period of rest and reduced transpiration
Moreover, evening application enables plants to efficiently take up nutrients from the soil, without any immediate stress caused by heat or sunlight.
It’s important to note that while late evening or night spraying can be beneficial for saving on fertiliser costs, it is essential to consider factors such as weather conditions, crop type, and specific product recommendations. Consulting with agricultural experts, or following guidelines from reputable sources, will ensure optimal results.
Therefore, by adopting well-timed spray applications, such as late in the evening or at night, farmers and gardeners can maximise their use of fertilisers while providing sufficient nutrient uptake by plants.
4. Implementing Water Conservation
One effective cost saving method to improve soil fertility is by implementing water contours on the land. Water contours, also known as contour farming or contour ploughing, involve shaping the land in a way that helps retain water and prevents erosion.
By creating ridges and channels along the natural contours of the land, water is directed to flow slowly across the field instead of running off quickly. This allows for better absorption into the soil and reduces surface runoff, which can carry away valuable nutrients along with it.
The use of water contours helps to conserve moisture in the soil, leading to healthier plant growth and reduced dependence on fertilisers. When water is evenly distributed across the field, it ensures that nutrients are effectively delivered to plant roots, minimising wastage.
Additionally, by reducing erosion through contour farming practices, topsoil loss is minimised. Topsoil contains essential organic matter and nutrients necessary for plant growth.
By preserving topsoil integrity, farmers can optimise fertiliser usage and nutrient availability in their fields
Implementing water contours requires careful planning and design based on the specific landscape and soil conditions of each farm. It may involve creating terraces or embankments that follow natural slopes or using machinery such as contour ploughs or laser-guided leveling equipment.
Overall, incorporating water contours into agricultural practices offers numerous benefits beyond just cost savings on fertilisers. It promotes sustainable farming methods by conserving resources and improving overall soil health.
5. Using Biologically Activated Fertilisers
Number 5 cost saving method to improve soil fertility is to use organic biological fertilisers.
Liquid Seaweed Biological Fertiliser is a great cost-effective alternative to conventional or chemical fertilisers, packed with a full spectrum of over 70 naturally balanced minerals, microelements, vitamins and enzymes.
Seaweed is rich in many essential nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus that plants need for healthy growth. Diluting liquid seaweed in water and applying it to plants and soil can provide perfectly balanced organic nutrition.
Fertilisers that are cold processed. or fermented. also maintain the amino chains, such as in Fish Hydrolysate Fertiliser. Lower rates of fish hydrolysate fertiliser can be effectively used, if applied more frequently, contributing to cost saving benefits, as well as exceptional results.
6. Make Your Own Fertiliser
Number 6 cost saving method to improve soil fertility, if you have the time, is by making your own fertiliser.
DIY fertilisers offer an affordable and customisable option for those looking to save on fertiliser expenses. These kits typically include the necessary ingredients and instructions for creating your own fertilisers at home.
You can also make your own, by using readily available materials such as compost, coffee grounds, or eggshells, to produce all types of fertiliser, without breaking the bank.
Many gardening enthusiasts and experts share their knowledge through video tutorials that demonstrate budget-friendly techniques for nourishing plants without relying heavily on store-bought fertilisers. These videos often provide step-by-step instructions on making homemade organic composts or utilising household items as plant food alternatives.
7. On-Farm Fertiliser Production Services
If you’re in Australia, our number 7 cost saving method to improve soil fertility is by utilising SONIC’s unique On-Farm Production Services. By accessing bulk supply fertilisers made directly on-farm, this innovative solution offers significant cost savings for farmers.
Traditional methods of purchasing fertilisers often involve various intermediaries, resulting in higher prices due to transportation and handling costs. However, by producing fertilisers directly on the farm, with SONIC’s On-Farm Production Services, farmers can eliminate these additional expenses.
By cutting out the middlemen, farmers can enjoy reduced costs and increased control over their fertiliser supply chain.
Producing fertilisers on-farm promotes local resources and sustainable farming practices
In conclusion, by implementing any of these 7 methods, farmers can minimise their fertiliser usage without compromising crop yield or quality. These methods focus on enhancing soil health through the use of organic matter, composting, cover cropping, and by encouraging beneficial soil microorganisms through the use of cost effective natural inputs.
By optimising fertiliser usage, and time efficiency, not only do farmers save money, but they also contribute towards environmental conservation practices.