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Kiwi Fertiliser is a company built on integrity and trust, and has stuck to its guns against the onslaught of the chemical NPK movement that continually tries to discredit any competition. Some farmers have asked, “Why do some academics criticise a system that works so well, and has improved our production and animal health?” They are referring to the Albrecht-Kinsey system of soil fertility. 

Some soil chemists are in competition for clients; some are plain ignorant of the facts. Some are both. Obviously critics have never tried the method, nor do they want to understand it. If they did, they would make themselves look like bigger fools. One ploy is to mention “BSCR” or Base Saturation Cation Ratios.

The Albrecht-Kinsey system is practiced in 75 countries world-wide. Every year there are courses being taught in some of those countries. We do not see any critics attending these courses. Those that practice the principles regularly meet with each other. We don’t know any consultants anywhere in the world that use BSCR. Nor has it been taught at any of those courses. Dr. Albrecht did not use it or teach it. Nor does Neal Kinsey who studied privately under Albrecht in the 1970’s. BSCR was invented by the chemical industry at a later date.

When we have a ratio of 10:1, and a ratio of 100:10, the ratios are the same. If the numbers represent kg/ha, or are derived from them, then the first example will have 10% of the nutrients of the second example, but the ratios are the same. Some people are well-meaning and use “ratio” by mistake, but others that should know better do it deliberately. Ratios? Really? Do those with university degrees actually believe their own drivel? Kg/ha and percentages are all-important. So is the lab where you get the numbers from. Few labs prescribe the same numbers around nutrients. If the lab doesn’t tell you the right numbers for your specific soil test, it’s time to change the lab.

Brookside Laboratories that Albrecht was associated with decades ago, has since changed their protocols to better accommodate mass throughput of soil samples. That means the numbers are no longer appropriate for his system. You cannot take a soil sample, analyse it at one laboratory and then try to make anyone’s numbers fit. That doesn’t work. It’s akin to trying to put Ford pistons into a Holden engine, but some “scientific” research uses that very principle. That’s how they wrongly claim, “The Albrecht method doesn’t work.” Use the right lab and it works brilliantly.

Farmers may talk about biological farming. Opponents deliberately twist that to organic farming to suit their own agendas. There is a huge difference between the two philosophies. Do those that choose ignorance really believe they are the same thing?
A fourth excuse is to claim it is too expensive. Now the chemists are economists. At that level of thinking, their minds are in their shoes with no thought at all on increased quality and quantity; not only of pasture and crops, but of animal health and production. George Bernard Shaw said. “Progress is impossible without change, and those that cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.”

Manawatu animals

This Manawatu grazier’s average weight gain (2012) from arrival as weaners is 1.2 kg/day/head

The following is an abridged quote from a Training Manual for Soil Analysis Interpretation in Northern California - Gregg Young, CPAg, 1999 (For his Master’s Degree):

“Albrecht's research was unusual in longevity (1916-1959), geographic range (on three continents), and thoroughness. He studied complex relationships rather than simple causes and effects. He analysed chemical properties of soils, fertilized and tested for yields, correlated quality considerations (protein, amino acid ratios), performed bioassay and feeding trials with animals, followed their development and that of their prodigy, (sic) and ultimately correlated health and fecundity of animals with quality of feed and soil properties of the soil on which it was produced. His work was primarily with grains, forages, and legumes.

His studies did show how many different plants get what they need from the soil, and his principles certainly show how to optimize productivity and quality for many crops. Albrecht believed in getting optimum soil conditions by using soil analysis and his mineral balancing principles. Plants will then use nutrients according to their needs. This was later called the Base Cation Saturation Ratio (BCSR) theory of soil interpretation. I will present a body of research which substantiates this theory. Albrecht clearly stressed quality over quantity.

He promoted high yields, but made a good case for nutritional quality being the most important goal for production of protein crops (grains, legumes) and feeds. This emphasis on quality can apply to wine grapes and quality fruit and vegetable production.
A key difference between Albrecht and most others was his emphasis on quality of crops, pest & disease resistance, and liming to provide calcium rather than fighting acidity.”

In other words, Albrecht was well ahead of his time. The rest of the world still hasn’t caught up. Albrecht had no peers, nor will there ever be. Since Albrecht, his system has been further refined by Neal Kinsey. Other consultants using the method are also refining it, or at least observing and measuring, to find out exactly what works best for the particular circumstances they work with. However, we still do not use ratios or a system based on ratios, despite being told we do.

Stags

Very healthy, content and quiet stags in the presence of a stranger (2015)

The Albrecht method works best when coordinating the soil samples, the laboratory, the consultancy, the products, and the order the nutrients are applied, the management and so on. All fertiliser from Kiwi Fertiliser is custom blended for each soil test. There is no guessing involved. It is precise and it delivers indisputable superior results. Those results are based on quality first and quantity second.

Those that criticise the system always measure dry matter, but not quality. They may measure expenditure, but not profit. Quality leads to superior soil health, plant health, animal health and production, and most importantly, to superior human health. Pollution is reduced. This has been tested by the greatest researchers on the planet: the farmers and growers.

The quote continues. “Comparison of BCSR and SLAN. During the period when BCSR was developed, an alternative school of agronomy grew up called SLAN, which stands for "sufficiency level of applied nutrients". McLean (1977) gave a well-balanced explanation of the two theories, although he did not mention or cite Albrecht and his hundreds of articles on the subject. McLean also did not address the issues of quality vs. quantity, soil biological activity, or fighting acidity vs. amending calcium. Nevertheless, McLean's overview of the two main schools of fertilization, shows the strengths and applications of each.

More research has been done on the SLAN method since it is more applicable to the use of concentrated chemical fertilizers, which has been the industry trend the last 30 years. (From 1999) McLean called for more research in BCSR, and concluded that: "A combination of these two concepts seems to work best as a basis for soil test interpretation in perhaps a majority of conditions."

Cows in lucerne

Highly nutritious, solid-stemmed, non-bloating, high producing Lucerne crop on the programme at Galatea (2011)

Product choice is important and will have an effect on the results obtained. Is that the realm of the Albrecht system or the consultant? The overall differentiating factor is that SLAN is living from hand to mouth. This is the system that has seen a proliferation of pests and diseases and chemical rescue-remedy responses, particularly over the past 50 years, and increasingly so over the past 30. The Albrecht-Kinsey system Kiwi Fertiliser follows, builds soil fertility, organic matter and resilience into the future. The importance of heat, cold, wet or dry, insects or diseases are all banished to the out tray.

The difference is also one of expenditure v. investment. There are many occasions where the fertiliser spend returns little, if anything by way of dividends. The cost of producing a poor crop could be 25c/kgDM, but may only cost $200/ha. On the other hand, an investment of $600/ha may return a superior crop for <5c/kgDM. There are many examples of poor crops nationwide. They are really common. Part of the issue is applying nutrients that are already in excess, and not supplying sufficient nutrient and number of nutrients, including calcium.

A NZ dry-stock farmer has publically claimed a doubling of his stocking rate and a quadrupling of his profit. Others are quietly doing the same.

Many farmers’ stock, after a few years on the programme in facial eczema prone areas doesn’t get facial eczema at all. Their neighbours’ stock does.

A citrus grower topped his pack house awards after 40 years of growing but only two years on the programme. 17,000 trays of green Kiwifruit on second rate soil; 20,000 trays on first-class soils; a Canterbury grower producing 15 tonnes of wheat and more year after year; small seed crops (carrots, legumes, grass) yielding up to double the average; repeated competition winning canola and wheat crops in NSW.

Northland farmers convert some of their land each year. After two years, their bought-in stock kill out at a healthy 1:1 Omega 6:Omega 3. Feedlot cattle can be an unhealthy 20:1 or higher. They have since purchased a second farm.

Grazers

No facial eczema spores were found on this Waikite Valley grazing property. Neighbours’stock was severely affected. (2016)

A top NZ Dairy Goat Coop supplier’s pastures produce 23,000kg/ha high quality forage. In five years, milk production increased from 28,000kgMS from 600 goats (2010) to 55,000 from 450 goats (2014). That’s a 96% improvement in total production and an improvement of 162% per goat. Their goats produce 137% of their body weight in MS and the average goat weight increased from 64 to 89 kg! The kidding rate increased markedly. 18.5 large bales/ha of Lucerne more than the fertiliser co-op side were produced within 18 months on the exact same budget. That’s about $650/ha extra net profit or $84,500 for half of the property.

The programme has produced best quality and quantity of bananas in South Africa and Guatemala and record wheat crops in Germany. A Maine, USA grower increased his seed potato yield by 20-40%, plus the next generation crops with his seed are better. In Marlborough, over 40 vineyards have converted to the Albrecht-Kinsey system of soil fertility.

In USA there are Robert Sinskey, Beckstoffer, Robert Mondavi and Chateau Montelena, all nationally renowned. In Australia it’s de Bortoli; there are thousands of good news stories worldwide.

Brett in the Kale

An example of an Albrecht-Kinsey crop. Fertiliser for this crop was 3.7c/kgDM for 18t/ha. The crop only had 20 units of N.

In most cases chemical sprays or animal therapeutics are not used, or are rarely used. They all did their due diligence, and are very profitable and successful businesses, using a system that does not work? Using a system that costs too much?

Some people are seriously mistaken. The reader will have to make up their own mind who that is.

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