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Seaweed for healthy soils

Inputs for growers in transition

Grahame West, aka The Seaweed Man, spoke recently about the benefits of seaweed and how it can address issues that many growers are experiencing.

Grahame is a seaweed veteran, having promoted the benefits of seaweed as a completely natural, organic plant growth and health activator for close to 50 years. His company, Seaweed Enterprises Australia, actively encourages regenerative and organic farming practices and their SEA Hub Farms provide a central point for farmers to meet and exchange ideas and knowledge.

“Australia has soils that are fantastic for growing crops but they also have particular issues that have been exacerbated by decades of high nitrogen use. 

Big chemical companies have a lot to answer for. Growers were never told that using urea causes a downward spiral that destroys healthy soil. Some of the biggest problems that growers face, such as soil compaction, acid soils and erosion can be linked directly to synthetic nitrogen use.

Growers have paid countless millions of dollars to these big chemical companies, and now growers are the ones who will have to pay again in money and labour to fix their mess. Top this off with climate change and it’s no wonder depression and mental stress are on the rise in these communities.

There is a light at the end of the paddock in the form of very strong and extremely effective Seaweed products. Seaperia is a new generation of seaweed – super-concentrated soluble flakes that dissolve quickly and completely with absolutely no residue. Coming in 20kg bags means there are no plastic drums to dispose of and handling is light and easy.

Let me tell you a bit more about seaweed and why so many growers are finding it valuable in the changeover from conventional farming to a more regenerative system.

Many will know that seaweed provides a galaxy of trace minerals, at least 60, in a chelated organic form that are easily accessible to plants and animals. Seaweed is also rich in natural growth promoters such as cytokinins, gibberellins and auxins… natural substances that are already present in your plants but seaweed has them in abundance. It also has vitamins and amino-acids, and all of these goodies are wrapped up in alginate, a sticky jelly-like substance.

The natural beauty of seaweed is the combination of every trace element your plants need (many you don’t even know that they need and cannot be tested for) plus the natural growth promoters plus a natural sticker. The cytokinins raise chlorophyll and therefore sugars in the leaf. Within half an hour of spraying the leaves your plant has sent that goodness to its roots and is feeding your soil microbes a delicious cocktail of sugars and minerals, creating an explosion in numbers. Meanwhile gibberellins are triggering the plant to grow a bigger, stronger root system and the extra sugars are being transformed into lignins building a sturdy plant that won’t lodge.

Seaweed is alkaline and will help in the fight against acid soils which can be a huge issue after years of adding chemical nitrogen with its acid base. It grows stronger plants with larger root systems that can halt erosion and build soil structure. Seaweed promotes healthy, well-fed, rapidly multiplying microbial life in your soil.

Crops grown with seaweed are better able to fight attack by insects, fungus and disease. Seaweed strengthens the cell wall of every cell in your plant. Seaweed grown crops withstand stresses such as very dry or wet conditions, extreme temperatures, and have around 4 degrees extra frost resistance.

Seaperia Seaweed can be used in transition to great effect. If your farm has seen years of phosphate use, chances are there are generations of unused, unavailable phosphate within your soil profile. By boosting microbials seaweed can unlock this resource, making this nitrogen available to plants. Growers can reduce their nitrogen input by spraying with Seaperia a couple of times over a growing season.

Seaperia is a new generation of seaweed product. Unlike liquid products it has no sterilisers that can harm your microbial life. Seaperia is 100% pure Ascophyllum nodosum, the particular species proven all over the world to be the best for agriculture.

Old-fashioned liquid products are heavy and difficult to handle and transport. In fact those products are only 15 to 20% actual seaweed, the rest is water and additives.

Seaperia comes in 20kg bags of super-soluble flakes that dissolve easily and will pass through the finest sprayer. Each bag will cover 20 to 40 ha of crops or pasture.

My message to growers is simply… try seaweed. Over 50 years of working with growers I could tell you so many stories of challenges and victories, incredible losses and massive wins. I can tell you emphatically that if you combine seaweed with a wholistic approach to farming you will never look back."


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