Owner: Paul Mason
Location: Near Dubbo, NSW, Australia
Type of Operation: Wheat, Canola, Lucerne, Sheep, and Cattle
“Prior to changing to the Albrecht soil fertility system as taught by Neal Kinsey, Paul’s results were 350 kg carcasses in 15 months at a 54% yield. After changing, the results were 370kg carcasses in 12 months at a 57% yield, and still increasing. Besides the shorter fattening period, the extra return on those cattle at $3.80/kg is $76. With 650 cattle, that is an extra $49,400.”
The directions to Paul Mason’s 1,600 hectare farm an hour out of Dubbo, NSW, were; “Just follow the road until you get to the green farm.” It turned out to be very easy. All the other farms were grey, brown and black and dismal looking. Paul’s farm stood out like a beacon. Paul Mason has been following the Albrecht system of soil fertility for more than 20 years. His farm is a cropping, sheep and cattle operation. Annual rainfall is 600 mm. The rotation is four years of cropping and six in pasture. Crops include wheat, canola and lucerne.
Discovering the path of soil fertility
Paul, a lovely older farmer, is one of the best known stock finishers in Australia. His Hereford stock are frequently sought by competing buyers. Some 20-plus years ago, he was in a local book shop and came across Neal Kinsey’s "Hands-On Agronomy." Being an astute man, he bought it. After reading it he phoned Neal and was soon on his way to Missouri, to attend his first introductory soil course, “Principles of Soil Fertility and Fertilisation".
Prize winning crops on the Albrecht-Kinsey system
After six years on the programme, Paul entered and won the local area wheat competition. That was the year he finally convinced himself to add trace elements. He had already found that adding lime to increase the base saturation calcium from 60% to 68%, on a Perry Lab test, raised his yields by 25%. That winning crop was 108 bushels per acre, or 5,786kg per hectare. (Good dryland wheat crops in Canterbury in 2013 will be in the 6-7,000 kg/ha bracket, provided they get rain to fill the heads.)
Paul has won the wheat competition many times. When he doesn't, the chances are it is won by his friend Rob Sutherland, who farms about an hour the other side of Dubbo. Rob also follows the Albrecht- Kinsey method of soil fertility.
Paul’s canola this year is almost two metres tall, and cleaned up all comers in his area. His neighbours withdrew their crops from competition as they were damaged by frost. Paul’s crop was not. It’s not a fluke; it is just good crop nutrition, and Paul’s crop yielded 3t/ha, despite the frost. On average Paul’s results are 25% better for canola and 40% better for wheat than the neighbours. The protein, once 11% is now 14.5%. He has left 64 ha of his farm out of the programme, “to remind me of what it looked like before.”
Paul’s steers are a sight for sore eyes. He buys in up to 650 steers and fattens them.
Paul is well over 6' tall.
Higher quality cattle and higher profits
Prior to changing to the Albrecht soil fertility system as taught by Neal Kinsey, Paul’s results were 350 kg carcasses in 15 months at a 54% yield. After changing, the results were 370kg carcasses in 12 months at a 57% yield, and still increasing. Besides the shorter fattening period, the extra return on those cattle at $3.80/kg is $76. With 650 cattle, that is an extra $49,400. The cattle are transported to Brisbane where Paul commands a higher price for his quality product. In addition, he now grazes 1000 wethers at $1/week for 24 weeks. That’s another $24,000.
Paul’s philosophy is to “Look from a distance, choose varieties carefully, make sure you have hay on hand for dry seasons to help you over the line when times are tough.” But more importantly, “Run with the winners, so your dreams become real. Your reward is the journey.”
I last spoke to Paul in July 2015. "I didn't win the competition this year." he said quietly, "My nephews did." "They have a very good teacher." was my reply.