BENEFITS FOR FARMERS
Biosolids are treated solids from the wastewater treatment process that are routinely applied to land as fertiliser. Biosolids are safe to apply to land when done so appropriately under the relevant regulations. Approximately 55 % of biosolids produced each year are applied to Australian farms (Australia and New Zealand Biosolids Partnership).
Biosolids can improve the productivity of farmland by improving the fertility of soils which have been depleted of nutrients and organic matter over time.
As well as macro nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, biosolids contain important micronutrients such as copper and zinc, which are naturally deficient in many Australian soils. These nutrients are released slowly, fertilising crops and pastures over many years.
Organic matter is a valuable component of biosolids, promoting improved soil structure, better water infiltration, moisture retention and root penetration.
The benefits of biosolids to farmers have been demonstrated by trials and research in Australia and overseas, including a 10 year, multi-million dollar research program run by NSW Agriculture.
The nitrogen and phosphorus value of biosolids has been calculated at $40-$140 per dry tonne compared with the cost of purchasing fertilisers.
> READ MORE about the use of Biosolids in Agriculture
Before the application of biosolids on farms, site and environmental assessments are undertaken to determine land suitability and identification of appropriate environmental and social controls. Influences that affect this outcome include sensitive areas, ground slope, neighbouring properties, groundwater, catchments, transport routes and soil results.
A farmer participation agreement is used to set out the farmer’s responsibilities. These typically include ploughing the biosolids into the soil after application and observing crop and livestock withholding periods.
Loop Organics’ key staff have over a combined industry experience of over 60 years, with particular focus on the impacts and operations of land application of biosolids for beneficial agricultural use.
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