A Soil History from 2004


In 2004 after buying this farm of ‘prime’ agricultural land a test of its red volcanic soil revealed :-

pH of 7.1 – far too high being that it was winter (Aug), cause -  high sodium and high magnesium

Potassium 0.5 meq/100 - far too low

Phosphate 200 ppm – too high, from repeated excessive mindless fertilizer applications

Organic Carbon  1.5% - far too low

Iron 27 ppm – far too low

Sulphur 13 ppm – too low

Sodium 0.7 meq/100 - too high, probably the result of irrigating with saline creek water.

Magnesium 6.3 meq/100 – too high but is normal in the area.

Ca to Mag ratio 2.4 – too low, not enough calcium and too much magnesium

Manganese Zinc and Copper OK

Boron OK but must have been recently applied as high pH usually makes it unavailable.

Summer of 2004 saw the spreading, per acre, of

10 tonnes of volcanic rock dust – to supply long term potassium and most of the 85 or so other trace elements not checked for in a regular soil test.

4 tonnes of cow manure – to supply potassium and organic carbon

5 Kgs of Iron Sulphate – to remedy the iron deficiency.

1.5 tonnes of Gypsum – to remedy the calcium and sulphur deficiencies


2005 saw the spreading, per acre, of

5 tonnes of cow manure – to supply potassium and organic carbon

orchard and soil test results

Bananas and soil test

2006 saw the spreading, per acre, of

4 tonnes of cow manure – to supply potassium and organic carbon

75 Kg of potassium sulphate – not getting enough potassium from the cow manure plus the sulphur will attach to the magnesium and allow it to leach away and further lower the pH.

75 Kg of potassium sulphate – again after 50 mm of rain washed in the last lot.

2 Kg of Boron – some plants showed symptoms of boron deficiency. Subsequently discovered that was a BIG MISTAKE. Boron of course is used to kill ants. The Boron used was from a regular fertizer company - WRONG BORON - this stuff will also kill a host of beneficial bacteria and fungi. The Boron to use (next time) is a complexed version which is non lethal, also improves uptake and resists leaching away.

2007 saw the application per acre of

        80 Kg of potassium sulphate - in March

        5 Litres of Zinc (chelated). Encourages bigger leaves, bananas are powered by the sun.

        5 Litres of Molybdenum (chelated). Molyb is part of the enzyme that transfers air nitrogen to the soil.

        5 Litres of Manganese (chelated). Enormously important as a reproduction stimulant.

There are several ways of testing for phosphate in a soil test, it was noted that in recent tests that while the benchmark Colwell method showed high levels, the other methods indicated a deficiency. Three rows of bananas were selected and 40 Kg of Soft Rock Phospate was applied. A few weeks after rain had washed that in a new soil test showed that:-

Owner will bring these soils back to pristine fertility no matter what it costs. Many years of degradation from bad practice cannot be fixed in one year, it may take 5 years. Bear in mind that these remedial actions are being given to what is some of the ‘very best’ soil in Cooloola.


The crucial factor that determines if fruit shall be of the highest quality is that it be gathered when ripe and about to fall from the tree. Normally these days that just never happens, not even close. Fruit from this farm is, it requires constant monitoring and protection from birds, possums and flying foxes.


From this you might realise that GOOD food is not cheap to produce. It follows too that CHEAP food most certainly won’t be good food as each cost cutting measure greatly diminishes quality. No one would dream of trying to run their car on any old combustible liquid yet our bodies are expected to function flawlessly forever on a myriad of substandard substances loosely or spuriously labelled ‘food’.