[Australia] A Western Australian mixed farmer is adding a monocultured algae that can be used as fertiliser to the mix of crops cultivated on his property.
Brian Baxter produces wool and grain on his Perenjori property, four hours’ drive north-east of Perth.
Four years ago, an ABC Landline story on algae production sparked the idea to do something similar.
So with support from the Perenjori Shire Council and a local mining company, Mr Baxter set about learning how to grow the new crop.
“We have seeded these two shuttles with a particular algae strain and we are growing that and trying to get it to a point where it is fertiliser,” he said.
“It’s an easy one to grow and obviously fertiliser is very important to what we do.”
Mr Baxter is hoping the couple of 1,000-litre tanks will grow into a new industry for the region.
“One of the main reasons is to diversify the community and get new people into the community, new business, so we can develop our community into a very viable, energetic place to live,” he said.
The algae needs water, food, aeration, heat and sunshine to grow — things Perenjori has lots of.
“In trial results they have been getting 40 grams per square metre, per day, in the midst of summer,” he said.
Mr Baxter does not know exactly how much algae production could be worth, however the traditional farmer in him can see the value of the nutrient content in the green gloop.
“It has a carbon-nitrogen ratio of seven to one, we’d have to turn it into pellets and then it would be an add-in for another type of fertiliser,” he said.
“It obviously has good water holding capacity, it can sit there for a long time dry and then you get some rain and up she comes again.
“We think it could fit really well with some phosphorus fertilisers.
“But this particular type, I have no idea at this stage of the game if it is rather unique.
“We’ll just have to see how much we can produce.”
View original article at: Algae to fertilise crops the growing concern of this West Australian sheep and grain farmer