Soil health in South Australia is set to get a boost as a partnership is formed between Australian Vermiculture, the country’s largest worm casting producer, and South Australian leader in rural services, Platinum Agricultural Services.
With a focus on soil, plant health and sustainability, Australian Vermiculture was founded from humble beginnings in the NSW town of Broken Hill. Founder, Brendon Price notes, “For something like soil biology, that has so long been conveyed as so complex, our solution has been simple, the humble worm.”
Trials, research and development work in the early 2000’s was conducted in the Millewa region, west of Mildura, VIC. The farming conditions are incredibly harsh and yet, where Australian Vermiculture products were used, the plants thrived and success saw fertilisers being replaced completely in many broadacre cereal and legume programs. Mr Price attributes this success “to the replacement of endemic microorganisms that symbiotically live with plants feeding off the exudates in roots and in return feeding nutrients directly to the plants.”
This exciting partnership will initially see over two thousand tonnes of Australian Vermiculture’s pelletised worm castings acquired for Platinum Agricultural Services’ clients. They will cover a range of crops from fruit & vegetables to cereal crops and pastures.
Australian Vermiculture’s, Technical Consultant, Xavier Smith, said he believed the synergies in the partnership will support the development of growers understanding of biological farming practices whilst allowing them to work specifically with local farmers to improve the benefits in soil regeneration as well as the end produce. Mr Smith said, “as we move forward we will begin to pin point exactly what the specific functions these microorganisms are having on our soils as well as in our end produce.” He said, “it has been well known for a long time the efficacy of using vermiculture based products in home gardens, but to develop and be able to commercially provide a product that positively affects soil health and regularly improves yield, has the potential to be a game changer in the agricultural and horticultural sectors.”
“We’ve only scratched the surface uncovering the benefits of using vermiculture products in farming systems. We know it increases yield and increases consistent nutrient uptake, for example, Phosphorous. We also know that having biologically balanced soil minimises risks of soil-borne diseases like Pythium,” Mr Smith said. “Securing this partnership and working alongside a leader in the industry, with a network of Agronomic specialists, allows us to continue to unlock the benefits of vermiculture in farming and we look forward to seeing further positive results for Platinum Agricultural Services’ clients.
General Manager of Platinum Agricultural Services, Peter Cook, says, “Our existing relationship with AV, has enabled us to market this product exclusively for Platinum Agriculture Services’ clients. We are excited about the product, given the market testing through a number of trials with SA based growers has consistently produced an increase in yield. The potential of increased production and healthier soils for growers across a broad range of crops is something we are very interested in”