IT'S not uncommon to peek over the neighbour's fence to see how their crops are progressing or how stock is looking but when Geoff Frankham peered across into his neighbour's property he knew he was missing out on something.
Mr Frankham farms 810-hectare Ballimore property, "Glenroy", with wife Margaret, next door to TNN Industries distributor Peter Doyle.
"I didn't think I was getting the performance from the stock or crops I should have been so I looked into doing something about it."
After finding out his neighbour's secret, Mr Frankham trialled TNN Mineral Plus and fused calcium magnesium and phosphate (FCMP) fertiliser on his own property.
"We did a soil test and found the soil was very low in calcium, high in aluminium and high in acid - it was very toxic," Mr Frankham said.
This explained why he hadn't been able to successfully grow a lucerne crop, he said.
While Mr Frankham had only used the fertiliser on three paddocks so far, he saw results quickly.
"I cropped one paddock four times and only got one crop off it in those years which went seven bags an acre (1.4 tonnes a hectare)."
Because of the acidic soils at "Glenroy", Mr Frankham had been running his 500 sheep on the natural grasses which grow there, consisting of spear grass, wire grass and some rye grass.
"I couldn't improve the pastures here so the sheep were missing out," he said.
Mr Frankham had been running some mobs of his sheep across two paddocks to allow better access to water but said he noticed the sheep showed a preference to one paddock in particular.
"The paddock without water has been hit with FCMP but I find the sheep will wander in to get water then straight back out to the other paddock," he said.
"There isn't great feed in there but they must be getting something because they're still fat."
Mr Frankham puts Prime SAMM rams over his first cross ewes for prime lamb production and has seen a major lift in his lambing percentage since supplementing them with Mineral Plus, a liquid chelated mineral supplement.
"I'm now getting about 108 per cent lambing when I would have been pushing to get 85pc a couple of years ago," he said.
The ewes, which are lambing now, are given 10 millilitres of the supplement every six to eight weeks with particular attention before joining and lambing.
"The drench costs less than 20 cents per ewe but in the mean time I've reduced my drenching bill by 80 per cent," he said.
"I call it liquid gold."
Worm resilience in his sheep had also improved according to Mr Frank-ham.
"If you did a worm egg count, some people would probably think it's a bit high but I let the sheep tell me what they need - to look at them, they are fat and healthy and don't appear to need a drench," he said.
Mr Frankham said he hadn't neglected internal or external parasites and was keeping a close eye on his sheep but under the new system, he had seen a decrease in burdens.
He said he had seen a marked improvement in wool production as well.
"Where I was getting three kilograms wool I'd now be getting five kilograms," he said.
"It could have been a change in the seasons I won't deny that, but the quality in the wool has certainly lifted."
Liquid gold at Ballimore
HIGH acid soils were harbouring Geoff Frankham's attempts at growing oats crops on "Glenroy", Ballimore.
After four years of unsuccessful crops on one particular paddock, Mr Frankham started using TNN Fused Calcium Magnesium Phosphate (FCMP).
"In four years I only managed to strip one crop off the paddock and it was pretty average."
The fertiliser has no heavy metals or hard chemicals which, Mr Frankham claims, has balanced out his soil.
In the first year of using the product, Mr Frankham said he didn't see a real difference.
"I've been using it for two years now and I'm incredible happy," he said. "I only use it on three paddocks which are my main cropping paddocks."
The fertiliser is acid soluble rather than water soluble, which was perfect for "Glenroy".
Mr Frankham (pictured with neighbour Peter Doyle) applied the fertiliser at 75 kilograms a hectare when he sowed Yiddah oats in early April, at a rate of 60kg/ha.
"I'm going to increase that to 100kg/ha this year," he said.
Some of the oats crops on "Glenroy" are cut for hay production, which has also increased since using the fertiliser.