A British organic fertiliser manufacturer has developed a new fish-based fertiliser which promises to significantly increase microbial life, including bacteria and fungi.

In a series of trials using its Biocore Land product, a fertiliser made by fermenting fish, Biocore Agri has used Eurofins’ Soil Life Monitor tests to prove the soil-enhancing effect of the product.

The liquid fish hydrolysate contains a broad range of macro and micro nutrients, amino acids, trace elements and organic matter, explains managing director, Stephen Welsh.

“We shred and mulch fish that isn’t suitable for human consumption in a process known as cold hydrolysis. The resulting liquid organic fertiliser can be applied to soil as a conditioner or to plants as a foliar spray. It can also be mixed with other biological or chemical products to reduce spraying frequency,” he adds.

Improving growth

In trials, 7 l/ha of Biocore Land was used to improve lettuce growth. It reduced the growth cycle by three days, equivalent to a 10% reduction.

“We’re also working with Harlequins FC to enhance the training pitches at the club; running a series of trials with VCS Agronomy; and recently completed a successful trial with the British Carrot Growers Association which saw carrot yields increase by 9.65%,” says Stephen.

Eurofins tests

Tests with Eurofins Agro UK have identified that when compared with a control sample, the organic fertiliser can increase microbial biomass by 85% and organic matter by 27%. In addition, the tests showed increases in total bacteria of 66.6% and total fungi of 85.71%.

“In a 15ha split field trial we applied Biocore Land to grass, which showed an 8.47% increase in grass protein and an organic matter increase of 27%. This demonstrated a benefit to both soil life and grass quality,” he says.

The product is certified by the Soil Association and is expected to appeal to farmers and growers looking to enhance soil health. As an agricultural product for grassland or arable, it has the potential to help soils to manage stress such as drought, floods, extreme temperatures, pests and disease, says Stephen.

“Eurofins was the only laboratory that could identify the build-up of microbial biomass in the soil samples from our trials. The results show that Biocore Land is capable of making significant improvements to microbial life quickly, which we hope will appeal to farmers and growers looking to use natural fertilisers rather than chemicals,” he concludes.