Increased Nutrient Content, Elimination of Aluminum Toxicity at Kerr Farms, Chatham Ontario
Kerr Farms is a 1700 acre operation growing both conventional and organic crops. Commodities grown include; corn, soybeans and sugar beets. Specialty crops grown are tomatoes for Heinz and organic tomatoes for Thomas Canning Co., (Utopia brand), strawberries, certified organic asparagus and processing peas.
In the spring of 2001, Boreal commenced soil audits at Kerr farms. The farm evaluation recognized that historical farming practices on these open sand loam soils resulted in organic matter and calcium depletion. This resulted in accelerated clay mineral degradation releasing aluminum, iron and manganese into soil solution. Tissue analysis of clover cover crops showed excessive plant uptake of aluminum. A test plot utilizing 350 lbs/acre of Spanish River Carbonatite was established for comparative tissue analysis. Within 5 weeks aluminum levels were suppressed and replaced with a 200% increase in calcium uptake.
o Increased brix and nutrient content in all crops grown.
o Increased densities in tomatoes produced for Heinz.
o Elimination of soil metal toxicities.
o Suppressed weed growth.
o Improved soil health; improved tilth, microbial activity, mineral cycling.
As noted above, aluminum toxicity is a widespread problem. Aluminum toxicity is ubiquitous, affecting all animals, plants and microbes. In plants aluminum toxicity results in poor plant health, poor yields and poor nutrient content. Plants uptake aluminum ions through dissolved aluminum in the soil solution. Aluminum has a pronounced negative affect on mycorrhizal fungi resulting in poor nitrogen fixation in the soil. The release of aluminum blocks calcium transporters necessary for signaling resulting in both plants and soil life losing their ability for soil web and cell communication. Ongoing trials using bulk applied SRC have shown to significantly reduce metal toxicities on well drained, base cation depleted acid soils. Results from test plots on calcium-depleted soils found in Southern Ontario and Michigan demonstrate SRC’s effectiveness in these toxic situations.
Of major economic significance to the farmer is the reaction time after application. All test plots were established in the spring with initial tissue analysis obtained from the plots occurring 5 to 7 weeks after SRC applications demonstrating the rapid reactivity of the SRC. Please click on picture for larger view