Diego Galindo from Wavertree Farms, Somersby NSW used compost made from recycled organics in his radish greenhouse. Recycled organics compost was applied 10 tonnes per hectare to increase water infiltration to the soil and reduce radish size variability. Diego was impressed with the results and has added compost made from recycled organics to his cropping inputs.
The trial is part of a bigger trial including three vegetable growing operations across New South Wales participating to investigate if recycled organics compost was an economically-viable option for their cropping input.
Liam Southam-Rogers from Applied Horticultural Research reports on the trial findings and key messages for vegetable growers. "Compost made from recycled organics is a great new resource that is safe to use, and offers vegetable producers a cost-effective way to improve soil health and boost profits," he says. "The compost is made from kerbside organic materials such as garden organics, grass clippings, leaves and tree pruning. It does not include manures or biosolids."
The organic materials are shredded, screened to remove any contaminants and then composted. The resulting compost is high in plant nutrients and beneficial bacteria, and the organic matter – at 60 percent – is higher than conventional compost at around 45-50 percent.
AHR set up three trials in NSW to discover whether it makes economic sense for vegetable producers to include the product as a cropping input. One of the trials was in the Greenhouse radish crop in Somersby, NSW.
Radishes are grown in greenhouses in a very sandy soil, and there was an issue with inconsistent sizes. Compost was applied at 10 t/ha pre-planting.
Radishes from the compost-treated area were more uniform in size and, overall, very slightly larger, which improved pack out by three per cent compared to standard practice.
While this was a smaller response to compost applications than the other demonstration trials, this result was actually the most profitable due to the higher intensity greenhouse cropping and resulted in a net gain of $1,283 per hectare in a single crop.
Diego Galindo, the farm agronomist and manager, was happy with the outcome and has since incorporated the compost supplied by Australian Native Landscapes into his regular program.
Applied Horticultural Research (AHR) received funding from the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA), as part of its Organics Market Development program, to look at ways this rich resource could be used in the horticulture sector.