Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know what's in my compost?
Your compost supplier should provide you with a recent analysis of the compost you are planning to purchase, indicating how it meets the Australian standards. It is also a good idea to visit the composting facilities to make sure you are satisfied with the quality of the materials they use and their processing standards.
Can I use compost on saline soils?
Yes! Great results have been achieved by using compost and compost mulch on saline soils. Compost mulch increases the rate of water infiltration and reduces evaporation, which means that less salt accumulates at the surface and your topsoil is less saline. This provides a better environment for plant growth.
I'm starting a new vineyard, can compost make a difference?
Using compost when you are establishing your vineyard can get your vines off to a great start. Studies have shown that compost mulch increases general vine growth, shoot length and trunk diameter, and most importantly can significantly increase yield. These benefits are seen well past the first harvest, ensuring that you will reap the rewards for years to come.
I know mulch can save me water, but is it worth the cost?
Mulch can save around 20-30% of your water usage, but this is a conservative estimate and in some cases you can save up to 70%. A recent cost benefit analysis using yield data from vines in South Australia showed that compost mulch applied at 10 and 50mm gave strong returns on the initial investment. When mulch was applied to 50mm depth (at $24.50/m), an average of $2.60 was returned on a $1 investment. This makes compost mulch great value for money.
What nutritional benefits should I expect from my compost?
This will depend on a range of factors including the type of compost you use, your vineyard location, climate and soil type and your type of irrigation. As a general rule, you can expect your compost to deliver significant amounts of potassium initially, with a slower release of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous over time. A nutrient calculator is available to help you predict the nutrient supply from compost. It's a good idea to monitor your soil and plants so that you can adjust your fertiliser applications if necessary.
What can I do to make my soil renovations last longer?
Incorporating compost along the rip line can prevent your soil from re-welding when you use this technique to renovate your vineyard. This will help improve the soil structure and make the benefits of ripping last longer. Using compost mulch on mounds will also make a big difference. Mounding increases evaporation and applying compost mulch will help you combat this negative effect. Incorporating compost into the mounds and using compost mulch will also improve the soil structure and help to prevent soil collapse after mounding.
What is the difference between raw, pasteurised and composted materials?
Pasteurised materials have been processed to kill plant and animal pathogens as well as weed propagules/seeds. This generally occurs at temperatures higher than 55°C. Composted materials are pasteurised and microbially transformed for not less than 6 weeks. Composted materials contain no weed seeds or pathogens and this is a matured, stabilised product.