Elders Griffith lead the way with new soil testing techniques

Elders agronomist Jason Cappello and the Griffith team are at the forefront of soil testing techniques in horticulture with an innovative, built-for-purpose soil core testing trailer.
The region has a diverse range of crop types; meaning a trailer setup that is customised to the job is critical. For horticulture crops, use of the standard centre ute or trailer mounted corer does not allow sampling in the planted root zone.

Mr Cappello was instrumental in arranging design and build of the testing unit, working with John Pastro of Pastro Custom Ag Griffith and his team, to build a trailer that provides more consistent and accurate results. Mr Cappello says that the unit allows agronomists to sample right in the plant row for tree and vine crops, cotton and broadacre cropping.

“So far the use in local horticulture crops has allowed us to consistently sample between 0-30 centimeters covering the main root zone area across full blocks. In the past we would go by hand and as far as the soil allowed – usually only 0-10 centimeters, maybe 15 centimeters in tight soils or deeper if the soil was well balanced,” says Mr Cappello.

Jason and the team are pleased with the results they can achieve with the tester, and seeing increased interest from clients.

“A bonus of the trailer is the deep corer, which enables us to show customers quick results – particularly those looking to develop new permanent plantings,” he says.

“We can now assess customers’ soil profile to the depth of one meter without needing to go and dig large pit holes, allowing us to quickly understand the soil makeup. Our results have already changed thoughts on development strategies for these plantings.”.

Overall, Mr Cappello says that the setup will be a significant benefit to the local branches, agronomists, and customer base, giving them the ability to more accurately and regularly check up on soil quality to yield better results in the long term.

“Each season is different and the soil make-up varies. By keeping up regular checks we can catch problems before they have an impact on crops. This unit is quickly making the job easier, safer, and more accurate,” he says.

Branch manager Cameron Townsend, says that soil testing is one way the branch tries to add value to their clients business’ above the ordinary agronomy offering.

“Soil testing makes our offering even stronger – it’s an added extra that can make a real difference to the outcome of a crop and therefore our client’s bottom line,” says Mr Townsend.

“A real focus for us at Elders and in Griffith is ensuring our technical service offering is strongly based on data, as well as knowledge acquired from years in the field. This unit will go a long way in ensuring that our clients are best setup each season across a diverse range of crops.”

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