Testimonials from our Fine Particle Fertiliser customers
At Mainland Minerals Southern we really value our customer's feedback, and all customers are given the opportunity to report back to us (in confidence) once the application of their fine particle fertiliser is complete.
Please browse our testimonials and see what our customers think!
Andrew McLachlan - Glen Nevis Station, Kingston
Andrew McLachlan has been the manager of Glen Nevis station in Kingston for 14 years and has been a client of Mainland Minerals Southern for virtually all of that time in fact the company describes him as one of their most loyal long-term clients. Glen Nevis is challenging country with 2400 hectares of mostly high country with about 300 hectares of terraces. Andrew runs 380 Angus cows and 70 replacements along with 1500 ewes and 400 replacements.
Every autumn he flys on his fertiliser needs in fine particle form. What particular cocktail mix he uses is determined by the results of soil tests that Mainland Minerals Southern regularly carry out.
“We get soil testing done every one or two years so we know what to apply to different parts of the property and so we can keep on top of things. We can combine trace elements with our main fertiliser needs and it’s all applied in liquid form so that the plant uptake is much quicker. Also, on hill blocks we can mix the brew with clover seed and plantains as well. This transforms the hills with new pasture. It’s efficient and makes sense.
“The key thing is we only ever apply what is needed. The land is not getting overloaded and nothing gets lost by being washed off. It’s effective and economical. Having said that we are not driven to do it this way because it’s cheaper but because we see results. We see results in improved animal health and in re-establishing old pasture. A lot more farmers are giving this kind of fertiliser regime a go particularly to stimulate winter grass or to renew old pastures. There’s probably about half a dozen or so now just in our district.
“I’ve never regretted putting my faith in Mainland Minerals Southern they deliver a great service and their team members are always so friendly and obliging.
Geoff and Deanna Dodd – Kuriwao, Clinton
Geoff and Deanna Dodd are sheep and beef farmers from Kuriwao, Clinton. Their 774-hectare farm is a mix of developed and undeveloped country where they run 6000 stock units.
When they first switched to Mainland Minerals Southern, some years ago, Geoff says they were looking for a more scientific approach to their farming needs.
“I liked the fact that things were looked into in a comprehensive way, starting with soil tests. They tailor your fertiliser requirements to what you need so I thought I’d give it a go. What I like is that they offer multiple options from raw product to fine particle. We are still breaking in some country here so some of our land needs a big boost to get going and here the granular form is suitable. I don’t use it every year but the option is always available.
“But I also recognise that the fine particle gets down into the soil and stimulates the biological activity in the soil, with plants sucking it up straight away. And then the fine particle approach really comes into its own when you mix your blend of fertiliser with trace elements that your soil needs like selenium and cobalt. We grow oats for silage and brassicas for our winter regime and in the growing season I apply this blend and absolutely see the boost in growth.”
“I also appreciate the Mainland Minerals brand for their emphasis on sustainability particularly when it comes to reducing toxic leach into waterways. Fine particle hits the plant leaves or is taken up immediately in the soil thus reducing leaching. We’ve all got to be playing our part to improve our waterways all the time.”
During their 15-year history on the property they have witnessed changing climatic conditions with big drys in different seasons becoming more common and this is an added reason for Geoff Dodd to understand what is going on.
“Every year seems to be a bit different now so addressing the soil needs is becoming an even greater imperative as those needs change according to the climatic conditions. It’s a real science now and Mainland Minerals Southern approach is so beneficial because each year we can sit down with results of the soil test and work out a future plan.”
Ian Clark- Riversdale and Athol
Ian Clark is a busy man managing a home farm in Riversdale and the Castle Hill Station at Athol. He works with big stock numbers in both operations. At Riversdale the farm is flat with irrigated land running 3 thousand ewes, and finishing 12 -15 thousand lambs and around 100 cattle. He is a firm believer in providing stock with the minerals they need in addition to applying fertiliser.
“We need to finish lambs as quick as we can and we do this by identifying the minerals that are lacking in the soil and regularly applying them in fine particle form for easy access and uptake. And it delivers results. Our lamb weights average between 19 -21kg and last season they were up to 22 kgs. In addition, we had 160% lambing.”
Ian’s confidence has come through his long association with Mainland Minerals Southern who have been advising him of the farm’s soil needs for many years.
Nine years ago, when Ian started managing Castle Hill Station, he took the same mindset with him.
The 2000-hectare high country station runs 12,500 stock units, a mix of sheep and cattle. Ian says the station had had a lot of development work done on it before he came along, tussock land had been brought into pasture, and he has carried on developing it but he recognised the stock were not performing as well as those at Riversdale.
“There was plenty of grass but the soil was lacking in minerals, particularly copper, and the extra minerals were really needed to lift performance. The first year the store lambs were going out at 30 kilos. It took a couple of years but the stock performance has lifted dramatically and now we finish them at around 45 kilos.
“That improvement in performance just goes to show that minerals are just as important as fertiliser. You can have plenty of feed but it’s quality feed that makes the difference.
“And with our lambs finishing early, thanks to Mainland Minerals, I have time to go fishing!”
Haydn Blatch – Riversdale
Haydn Blatch is a Rural Manager with Rabobank who, for the last five years, has been farming in partnership with his two brothers and with another farmer, Ian Clark. They run two farms both at Riversdale, supporting sheep, beef and grazing. The larger of the two farms is 940 hectares of rolling hill country the other farm is 295 hectares of flat intensive.
Haydn says that they have been a client of Mainland Minerals from the start following Ian Clark’s recommendation.
“Ian introduced us to Murray Cockburn and we got on well. He puts soil science into layman’s terms. My parents farmed using the traditional farming fertiliser regime which is a broad-brush approach compared to Mainland Mineral’s more specific and targeted application regime. Murray knows our farm system and we rely on his advice.
“We are trying to lift fertility on the rolling hill country and we need to lift the base nutrients particularly potassium, so we use a mix of solid fertiliser for capital dressings and fine particle to ensure everything else is looked after, as we need to be careful to watch what is happening to the animals while lifting our levels and this is why we use a mix of Mainland’s products to ensure this happens as advised by Murray.
“Our animal health is very good and stock performance has been great. The lambs have been going out the gate earlier and higher weights year on year. Lambs are averaging 18-20kg and our lambing percentage has been up and over 145%. The young grasses are also stronger with the fertiliser regime around them with more strategic N applied.”
Working in the rural banking industry Haydn is well versed in looking for what makes economic sense.
“One of my roles in the partnership is to control the budget so I want to get the best bang for our buck and I think we are. I think Mainland Minerals give us quality advice that’s backed by soil science. The whole team are very professional right through from the admin staff to their logistics people, they are a good bunch to work with.”
Dean McCrostie – Milton
Dean McCrostie has been on his 460-hectare family farm in Milton for 36 years and had sole responsibility for the last ten years. He runs 2400 ewes, 550 replacements, 14 heifers and 500-800 dairy grazers. He also grows 100 hectares of winter crop and 40 hectares of cereal for harvest.
He called in Mainland Minerals Southern about five years ago after deciding that while he was putting on base fertiliser not a lot was happening. Now he’s confident that changes for the good are becoming apparent.
“Now we are soil testing and have a better understanding of what the land needs. We are trying to get our base to where we need it to be so are using a solid mix that I can spread myself. Once we get the base to a desirable level then I can look at fine particle application. We are trying to get worms, microbial activity back and it’s slowly happening. Indicators are water retention and less thatching of the grass which means the root structure is penetrating deeper into the soil.
“For our kale and barley cropping, we use a solid fertiliser but also add in minerals that the plants need and the results speak for themselves. We’ve hit top level of the local winter crop competitions for some years now and this year’s cereal harvest has been the best ever. Even an area that’s grown barley for 14 consecutive years still did eight ton to the hectare, and it wasn’t planted out until December- that’s pretty outstanding.
“Also, our grass paddocks are holding on better and even our older pastures are more palatable. The last two years we’ve been hit badly by a big dry in summer but have been able to make all our supplementary feed by January and with better yields. We’ve taken off 600 bales of hay and 300+ of baleage. Our stock health is good and our lambs are gaining weight faster.”
Dean says Mainland Minerals flexibility in delivery of product caters for every need.
“If I’m preparing to sow crop in bulk, local transport can pick up fertiliser and transfer it easily to their spreader. When I want to prepare pasture, I can order 1-ton bags, hold them over the trailer and spread at my discretion. When I do need fine particle application it can be dispersed via truck or helicopter.
“I have dealt with Suzanne Fox and Larissa Buxton from Mainland Minerals and both have been great along with Murray himself who is exceptional he’s always available to talk to you and never forgets a face. All their advice and service is fantastic.”
Alistair Wilson - Ida Valley
Alistair and Wendy Wilson and their son Craig farm 890 hectares in the Ida Valley in Central Otago. Their flat to rolling hill country carries Romdale ewes and hoggets. On the hills they have half-bred ewes and hoggets. In the paddocks they carry trading cattle.
Alistair can’t remember how long he’s been a client of Mainland Minerals Southern – he goes ‘way back’ with them in fact was first dealing with Mainland Minerals out of Timaru. He’s a great advocate of soil testing and of only applying what the soil needs and where.
“We put on the pasture what is required in the way of both nutrients and minerals. We never put on too much. We prefer the fine particle application, although one year did add some solids, but generally it’s fine particle all the way. It works for us and we are happy with our stock performance.
“All of our lambing percentages keep improving with our Romdales at 150-160% and the half-breds on the hill at 130%. Our lamb weights are also very good coming in some years as high as 19-20kgs. In Spring the cattle are on the hooks at over 330kgs.”
These results are made more impressive in light of what challenges the climate in Ida Valley can throw in the way of long dry summers and harsh winters. But he says it’s the improvement in the soil structure that makes all the difference.
“The regular soil tests show the structure of the soil improving all the time, biological activity is stimulated and enhanced which is reflected in the growth of the pasture. We particularly benefit from extra pasture that can stave off the effects of a big dry. Also, we used to get a lot of ponding in the paddocks with irrigation but now the moisture soaks in.”
All up Alistair considers Mainland Minerals service as ‘excellent’ and adds, ‘they’re all good, genuinely nice people to deal with.’
Hamish Mackay -Cardrona Valley
Spots Creek Station is 1400 hectares of flat to high country in the Cardrona Valley in Central Otago and home to Hamish and Anna Mackay and their family. They winter 1200 deer, 1500 sheep and 70 cattle.
The Mackay's have been clients of Mainland Minerals Southern for seven years, a relationship which is particularly aligned to Hamish’s farming philosophy of taking care of the land and animal health in an environmentally responsible manner. The prime attraction for him was the mode of fertiliser application that the company promotes.
“The way fertiliser is applied in liquid suspension is highly beneficial, you know that 100% of the product you are applying is hitting the ground as opposed to having finer particles drifting off. When fertiliser is ground down it becomes fine and floury, but in liquid suspension it is made readily available to the soil and accessible to the plants which results in a much quicker response plus it decreases run off.
“I’m driven to achieve the best environmental benefits, especially now with the high awareness of climate change. With Mainland Minerals the options are there to use organically based products. We use very few products with adverse effects to the environment, sometimes we put on a bit of nitrogen but very little. We use soil tests to determine what is needed and our application rates are never greater than 225 kilos to the hectare.
“I deal with Gavin who lives here so when I need technical answers to problems, I’m dealing with someone who knows what they are talking about. Sometimes with big companies with a lot of personnel, not all staff have the necessary experience to answer the technical problems.
“We have very healthy clover and legumes. I wouldn’t say that we have more pasture but the quality of it is 100% better. Being able to feed stock properly takes the harshness out of winter which can be vital in this region.
“Our priority is in stock production and the bottom line there is in relation to animal health. Our results speak for themselves in terms of higher carcass weights, higher weaning weights and at the end of the day greater income.
“I have no hesitation in saying that Mainland Minerals’ service is exceptionally good.”
Jimmy and Adrienne Harris -Tuatapere
Jimmy and Adrienne Harris farm near Tuatapere on the coast side of Happy Valley. Their 576-hectare farm has 162 hectares of flattish land with the remainder in rolling to steep country with some native bush and swamp land thrown in. They run 3000 breeding ewes with 800 replacement hoggets and 200 mix-age hinds.
The Harris’s relationship with Mainland Minerals Southern goes back to the early 1980s. Jimmy says he remembers a bit of a turning point when he and his father witnessed their neighbour’s farm being top dressed.
“Instead of sowing the neighbour’s land, the fertiliser landed 300 metres away and our farm driveway was perfectly sown like hail!! Now with Mainland Minerals we can apply liquid fertiliser and with helicopter delivery there’s far more accuracy with placement. It can fly lower and the bulk of the product gets to where it’s needed. It might hit a bit of bush now and then but then I figure I’m doing my bit for nature!
“We get the soil tested about every three years and then apply what we need as a result. Our 'winter green' brew that we use on crops has a fine particle mix of key nutrients and trace minerals in response to the soil needs. Some of these help with clover production on pastures and they all help increase stock performance.
“The brew that we used this year on some areas of young grass lasted for weeks. I put my small to medium lambs in the paddock and when I next shifted them out, I later found them waiting by the gate to get back in! They loved the stuff and I was able to bring them up to the weight of the bigger lambs.
“I used to have to use a lot of salt lick but not anymore. The ‘winter green’ has a little bit of nitrogen in liquid form and while I’m not a ‘Greenie’ I think this is probably the way the country should go.”
“There’s also a biological aspect to the brew with fine lime and pasture pro added to the mix to help stimulate and populate soil biology. There’s definitely a lot of biological activity happening in the soil, in fact, my digger contractor can’t get over the number of worms in our soil.
“I’m pretty happy with our results. Our animal health is good, the lambing % is around 140-150% and I’m comfortable with the fawning rate. We use less fertiliser, there’s quicker uptake and less run off.”
Simon and Penny O’Meara – West Otago
Simon and Penny O’Meara are sheep and beef farmers in West Otago. They’ve farmed their home block since 2005; 565 hectares of rolling hill to steep hill country. It carries 2700 ewes, 1000 hoggets and 250 cattle. In 2016 they added a leased block to their operation running 1900 ewes.
The O’Meara’s approach to farming is one of sustainability. They are active members of the Pomahaka Water Catchment Group who are working towards the vision for the Pomahaka River to be recognised as having the absolute highest water quality for future generations to enjoy. Simon believes that farming practices need to be environmentally responsible and this thinking, influences choices he makes for his farms soil health.
He’s been a client of Mainland Minerals Southern for four years and feels comfortable and relaxed with their approach.
“We use Di- Calcium Phosphate (DCP) as opposed to superphosphate. For 4-5 years the Water Catchment Group has been talking about nutrient loss into water ways and I’ve come around to the way of thinking that slow release fertiliser like DCP is not as water soluble, it doesn’t break down so fast so doesn’t enter water ways so quickly but the nutrient is ground and applied as slurry so is just as plant available. DCP is also a non-acidic fertiliser, unlike Superphosphate which relies on sulphuric acid to break it down, what we use is a bit more pH. neutral and doesn’t have a harmful effect on the soil.
“We are doing comprehensive soil and herbage tests that are telling us what to target on different areas of the farm so it’s not a blanket approach. Also, we are not just focusing on NPK as farmers traditionally tended to do. We attend to mineral needs as well. For the last four years we have maintained our fertility levels and I’m happy with that.
“Our farming operation is about sustainability and for me that is three pronged: it’s got to be socially sustainable allowing for a family life and having time to be part of the community; financially sustainable, it has to make a return; and environmentally sustainable, protecting not damaging the environment.
“I think the advice we get from Mainland Minerals and the decisions we make contribute to a reasonable, balanced and environmentally friendly approach.”
Rosanne Allen and Peter Fowle - Clifden
Rosanne Allen and Peter Fowle farm 1000 acres of flat to rolling country in Clifden, Southland. The Fowle's are certified organic farmers running approximately 80 breeding Angus cattle, 2800 breeding ewes and 150 breeding hinds. They have been clients of Mainland Minerals Southern for many years. They became registered as certified organic farmers in 2007.
Rosanne says that from their organic farming perspective, Mainland Minerals Southern are brilliant to work with.
"We really value the relationship as the nature of organic farming changes the tools in the tool kit and, especially in the early days, we needed someone prepared to sit down with us and have lengthy conversations to come up with answers to our needs. They are not just here to sell a product; they are happy to explore natural solutions for what after all are natural problems.
"It's awesome that they invested in getting their organic products certified because that gives us access to what we need. We can't use conventional fertilisers like DAP or superphosphate - they are out of the question. We've learnt that organic farming is all about soil health and the microbial activity needed to enhance that. It is important to us that what we do looks after the soil as well as the plants and of course fertiliser plays a huge role in this.
"We have soil tests done annually and most of our soil needs are applied in fine particle form at application rates decided by the testing and what we are trying to achieve. Fine particle delivery really is a great option; readily available to the soil, better take up, and less run off - it doesn't sit around on the soil increasing likelihood of leaching into waterways. Plus, worms seem to love it - it helps increase organic matter - it works!
"Our priority is animal health and we are pretty happy with the health of our stock and levels of production. We are very happy with our crops, mainly swedes and kale plus silage and baleage, their performance has got better and better over the years. We are also trialing medicinal fodder willow crops as a means to prevent or reduce the worm burden.
"We are challenged by one part of our farm that is not performing as well as the rest and we are not sure why. But with Mainland Minerals help and soil tests we are exploring together ways of what we can do and how we can do better. This really is where the company come into their own -they will support exploratory solutions and not just accept the status quo."