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Scientific approach inspires trust

July 16, 2018

Craig Topham has built a relationship with APAL over the four years they have been servicing WA growers and advisers.

As a researcher and agronomist at Agrarian Management based in Geraldton, WA, Craig says he sticks with APAL because of their dynamic, scientific approach to laboratory testing.

“With APAL it’s about science, not sales,” he says.

“They’re always researching and exploring new and improved testing so we can get more and better information.”

Craig says APAL’s work progressing the DGT test for phosphorus has been highly valuable in the sandplain and gravel soils he deals with.

“What we’ve learned with APAL is which of the different tests will give the most useful information for which situation,” he says.

“We might do the DGT test, exchangeable P, Colwell, or a combination. They all have their place and with APAL we know which ones to use for a certain soil and environment to get the best information to help make decisions.”
Craig Topham

Agronomist and researcher at Agrarian Management


Geraldton, Western Australia

Craig says soil testing has significantly changed the way his clients invest in nutrition, with potassium (K) one key example.

“In the past growers may have learnt from years of experience how much K they needed, but as they have ameliorated their soils to improve performance, the K responses have changed,” he says.

“Only soil testing can tell us how the soils and the plants are responding, and therefore, what the economic response to fertiliser will be.”

Craig has also made use of some of APAL’s lesser known services, including MIR particle size testing and lime source testing. Agrarian are involved in the development of new testing methods at APAL to assess water holding capacity.

He says seeing the development and scientific approach APAL take to their testing methods gives him great confidence in the results.

“You can see when working with APAL that the science comes first,” he says.

“We can be confident that they’re always working to improve accuracy and find the best possible methods to tell us more about our soils.”

In fact, after engaging with APAL’s Ryan Walker at field days in Geraldton, Craig now has clients requesting he test their samples through APAL.

“The growers have such trust in Ryan and APAL, they know that sending samples to APAL will give them the best possible understanding of their soils,” he says.