Preliminary results from a field trial with compost in a cauliflower/leek rotation have been very promising. The grower noticed that the soil underfoot was different - less muddy, better draining - and that the cauliflowers were cutting cleaner, with less soil and marking. Measures confirmed that a 32% increase in infiltration rate had occurred where a finely textured compost had been applied along the beds at 130m3/ha and lightly worked in during planting preparations.
The most important result was the change in cauliflower maturity where compost had been applied. While only 68% of the cauliflowers in the control plots were harvested on the first pass, 99% were harvested from the compost treated plots. This saved the grower one pass with a tractor and harvest crew. Together with an increase in the number of cauliflowers taken from the compost treated area, early results suggest that this very high rate of compost application has covered more than half of its costs in the first rotation. With a second rotation in leeks due for harvest in weeks, we'll be able to update the figures and determine if compost has been a cost-effective method for increasing soil carbon. Call Katie on (08) 8339 8628 for more information.