How It Works

The first stage is a discussion with the farmer or grower and the use of up-to-date detailed soil and leaf analyses to identify where the problems lie. From the accumulated data we can identify the deficiencies, the excesses and the imbalances that invariably impair the quality of crops and livestock.

We then formulate a tailored mineral dressing to rebalance the mineral profile, restore deficiencies and cure mineral "lock-ups". This ensures that the correct nutrients are available to the plant as and when required, through the soil as Nature intended.

The dressings are manufactured (ISO 9001 and 14001) to make it suitable for the application. For example, if it is destined for a crop of sprouts, it is designed to last long enough to provide that crop with all it needs until it is harvested. For a crop of babyleaf salad vegetable, it will be for between 1 and 2 months, depending on the variety. If it is to improve a permanent pasture, it is designed to last as long as possible – as long as 3 years is usually achievable. When land is frequently tilled, it inverts up to 200mm of soil and to apply enough nutrients to fully restore nutrient levels to 2000 tonnes of tilled soil per hectare would be far too costly.

All our dressings are tailor-made for the land to which they are applied which is essential to take account of nutrient imbalances. The standard industry response to a common mineral deficiency is to include some of the deficient mineral in a spray for an arable crop or with livestock, to feed some of that mineral as a dietary supplement. Both solutions are simplistic.

Nutrients become ‘locked up’ when the soil profile is unbalanced. For example, cattle frequently appear copper deficient when in fact the problem is excess molybdenum, reducing the copper’s availability to the grass plant. Crops often show a range of nutrient deficiencies, despite their presence in the soil, because plant uptake is suppressed by excessive soil levels of an antagonistic element. The simplistic approach of applying minerals direct to the plant does nothing to rebalance the soil and frequently fails.

The Field Science tailor-made system ensures that the soil’s rootzone contains the correct balance of trace elements and minerals. The rebalancing process removes yield-limiting factors unrelated to NPK and reduces the fertiliser requirement by up to 30% (this is important because only 30% of the N we buy is used by the plant - the rest is wasted). Remineralisation feeds the soil and all the symbiotic microbes within it. Arbuscular Mycorrhizae fungal organisms alone can effectively triple plant root uptake of water and nutrients, but excess synthetic N kills them. That is a reason why intensively grown horticultural crops are prone to heat stress - they transpire water faster than their roots can take it up.

It is important to maximise the value and effectiveness of your dressings. There is no point in applying a dressing at the wrong time. Although not an issue on pastures (because they are grazed most of the year and the dressings are retained in the rootzone for several years), for a specific crop it is different. Dressings should normally be applied after drilling to supply nutrients right through the growth cycle, boosting yields and disease resistance. Soils should not be over-cultivated. Nearly every year in the South West we see significant soil erosion with red, light soils flowing out into the roads after heavy rain. These soils should be contour ploughed or direct drilled. Power harrowing light soils on steep hills is asking for trouble and everything applied beforehand will be washed away.