Soil is a natural complex of organic minerals, inorganic minerals, air, water and living organisms supplying nutrients, moisture and anchorage for plants. All quality, fertile soils need these things together with paramagnetic energy (see below). The function of paramagnetic energy is still uncertain but it is believed to oscillate the microbes and plant cells and enhance plant growth. The living organisms have a specific functions and are essential to plant life and ultimately all life - if they were to fail, all plant, animal and human life would cease. Together they form a system for disintegrating and transforming organic matter and include:
- Algae: These have a role in decomposing organic residues and changing them into a form which can be consumed by other living organisms or taken up by the plant.
- Bacteria: These have diverse, highly efficient functions in the chain of decomposition. The two main types are aerobic (requiring air or free oxygen to survive) and anaerobic (being able to exist in the absence or presence of free oxygen). Bacteria are robust and adaptable to a range of environments. They can function in a pH range of 4 to 9 but do best at 6.5 to 8.5. They can break down almost any organic compound for food and are second only to fungi in their ability to attack and digest material.
- Fungi: These are widely distributed in the environment and all are aerobic and heterotopic. They can only use organic material as a food source, but are able to break down complex food types, especially polymeric compounds not easily broken down by bacteria or actinomycetes.
- Actinomycetes: These have an extensive distribution and are present in large numbers in soils. These micro-organisms are extremely efficient in breaking down the resistant compounds of both plant and animal residues.
Based on worldwide research* of the literature, trials and experience, a specific indigenous rock dust with higher paramagnetic intensity is very beneficial for soil quality, particularly in Australia where trace elements within most soils have been depleted by the weathering process. The trace elements promote microbial activity and are gradually transformed into a soluble form for uptake by the plant roots.
While a low soil pH can be increased almost instantaneously with the application of lime, such a fast response is detrimental to microbial activity. Artificial fertilisers are predominantly acidic and when applied in conjunction with lime produce an even more detrimental impact on the soil than only applying lime.
There are various types of basaltic rock dust, geologically with respect to content of trace elements, and with respect to degree of paramagnetism, or degree of attraction by a magnetic field. Trials are continuing by Boral/ Nutratherm and others on blending different types to ensure optimum nutrient levels, and on such matters as application techniques and pelletisation. Rock dust with higher paramagnetic activity has been found to significantly improve plant growth.
Application to soil
A Nutratherm System is not about using a series of products for mixing, adding water to, and spraying on and achieve instant results. It is not something to add to a synthetic fertiliser program. In the early stages, Nutratherm achieved inconsistent and poor results with single product applications, and realised that for the materials to achieve their maximum effect, they must be used in combination, synergistically, within a carefully structured system, and applied over time
Nutrient deficiencies are identified by a comprehensive soil test and corrections are made using the appropriate material.
Though the materials have their own microbial population its unlikely that they will all survive. The native microbes are the most beneficial for specific conditions. the Nutratherm system triggers the native populations to become active and overcome the introduced species. They are thus encouraged to their potential.