Arable and GrasslandFruit and VineyardsSoil AnalysisHaulageFertiliserRecycling

Fruit and Vineyard Services

Here at Steve Pack Agricultural Services we offer a range of services to fruit growers and from the outset we have been innovating in progressive technology to improve soil health and management. The main services we offer are in pH mapping and liming, precision fertiliser application and compost spreading.

Soil pH mapping & liming

Soil pH is the first fundamental to get right when considering soil health and crop nutrition. The pH of the soil affects the availability of every other nutrient in the soil, both major nutrients and important trace elements. From 10 years of experience as lime spreading contractors, we know first hand that soil pH is extremely variable across relatively small land areas. This variability can be mapped with GPS technology at very low cost, using our in-house testing and GPS mapping facilities.

Having mapped out the areas of acidity, we can produce a prescription map detailing the rates of lime required in each area according to the current pH as measured by sampling and the target pH for the crop being grown. As a FACTS qualified advisor Steve Pack is able to set appropriate rates to hone the pH across the orchard or vineyard as precisely as possible to the crop requirement.

We can then supply the required lime and deliver it to the site with our own 8x4 bulk tipper lorries. This ensures a timely and efficient operation entirely under our control with our own experienced drivers.

Finally the lime can be spread precisely across the required areas at the correct rate with our custom built narrow lime spreader designed and commissioned by us specifically for working in UK orchards and vineyards. With this machine we were the first contractors in the UK to offer GPS variable rate lime spreading to fruit growers for in-orchard application, providing the most accurate placement of lime available and assisting growers to achieve the best from their land.

Scroll down for fertiliser and compost services in Fruit.


GPS variable rate precision fertiliser spreading

A critical part of profitable fruit growing is to achieve uniform crops. Huge investment is made into buying productive, uniform trees and establishing them on post and wire systems. The soil into which these trees are planted can have significant natural variation which then translates into variability in the crop.

At Steve Pack Agricultural Services, we are able to offer a GPS variable rate soil sampling and fertiliser spreading service, providing orchards and vineyards with the required nutrients to get the best from the soil. Frustrated by the time consuming and costly process of applying each of the major nutrients separately with a separate pass required through the orchard for each nutrient. In a bid to reduce this time and cost, Steve Pack designed and commissioned a chassis to be built on which three variable rate spreaders can be mounted, each on weigh cells to ensure accurate calibration and application records.

This custom made triple spreader allows us to provide a one-pass GPS variable rate P, K, Mg application using three hoppers allowing each fertiliser to be spread at the required rate, whilst reducing travel through the aisles by up to two thirds. Detailed application records are generated and supplied to the grower.

We can offer a complete ‘cradle to grave’ nutrient management service, from initial soil sampling and mapping to ordering of the appropriate fertilisers, taking delivery at our depot if necessary, spreading of the fertiliser, and producing the appropriate records for the grower. This one-stop service takes the hassle away from the grower and ensures that nutrient management is taken care of in a timely manner keeping soils in tip-top condition. See the Fertiliser page for more information on the fertilisers we can supply.

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Compost supply and spreading for orchards and vineyards

Compost applied as a mulch under fruit trees and vines has many benefits associated with the addition of a large quantity of organic matter to the soil. The compost contains the major nutrients required for plant growth and yield. Below are some details provided by the AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) which we find to be in line with our experience of using compost in practise. We supply a nutrient analysis for each batch of compost we supply, and in general the analysis show the compost to contain slightly more than the standard figures shown here.

Typically (fresh weight 60% dry matter) in the region of:
Nitrogen: 7.5 kg/t*
Phosphate P2O5: 3 kg/t**
Potash K2O: 6.8 kg/t
Sulphur SO3: 3.4 kg/t
Magnesium MgO: 3.4 kg/t

* The available field experimental data indicate that green compost supplies only very small amounts of crop available nitrogen and that manufactured fertiliser nitrogen application rates should not be changed for the next crop grown. In the case of green/food compost, the available experimental data indicate that around 5% of the total nitrogen applied is available to the next crop grown (irrespective of application timing). Following the repeated use of green and green/food composts, long-term soil nitrogen supply will be increased.

**As little work has been done on the availability of compost phosphate to crops, it is appropriate to extrapolate from work on livestock manures and sewage sludge, which suggests that around 50% of the phosphate will be available to the next crop grown, with the remainder released slowly over the crop rotation. Around 80% of compost potash is in a soluble form and is readily available for crop uptake. Composts also supply useful quantities of sulphur and magnesium, although there are no data on availability to the next crop grown.
Source: RB209

In addition to the nutrients available in the compost, hugely significant benefits can be found including the improvement in soil moisture retention in dry periods, and improvement in soil structure which improves drainage in wet periods. The improved soil structure has many other benefits including increased root development and health, increased biological activity (also boosted by the addition of the organic matter of the compost).

We only supply compost which certified as meeting the PAS 100 standard. PAS 100 is the BSI standard for quality compost in the UK – more information can be found on the website.

We have supplied and spread PAS 100 compost for orchard growers since 2012, and now run three state of the art compost spreaders equipped to an incredibly high standard with interchangeable belt or spinners for varying spread widths, flotation tyres, hydraulically adjustable axles and more. We can supply and deliver the compost using our own lorries to ensure a seamless and timely operation with our experienced drivers – see the haulage section for more details.

Call us to enquire about compost spreading for orchards and vineyards.