06 Sep 2010

Better Fertilizer Decisions for Crops

IPNI joins with other research groups in a national project to better define fertilizer responses.

National project to make better fertiliser decisions possible
An ambitious new national project aims to provide the grains industry, fertiliser industry and other relevant stakeholders with the knowledge and resources to make better fertiliser decisions, NSW Minister for Agriculture Steve Whan said today.

“The Making Better Fertiliser Decisions for Cropping Systems in Australia” project will drive more efficient use of nutrients, more efficient production and minimise the application of excess nutrients in cropping systems across Australia.

“Currently, fertiliser inputs comprise 20-30 per cent of total variable costs associated with crop production,” he said.

Industry & Investment NSW (I&I NSW) is leading the three-year project, which has $1.3 million in funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

“The outputs from the project will be made readily available to grain growers through the grains and fertiliser industries, government departments and consultants who are charged with the responsibility for information and knowledge transfer,” Mr Whan said.

The objectives of the project are to:
· Develop national and regional soil test-crop response calibrations for assessing the nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulphur status of soils used for the production of up to 35 different cereal, pulse and oilseed crops;

· Develop an online searchable national database of crop nutrient response trials conducted throughout Australia;

· Develop training resources and publications that communicate soil test-crop response calibrations and scientific findings to grain growers, the fertiliser industry and the scientific community; and

· Identify knowledge gaps for future investment.

“This project provides a rare opportunity to collect and bring together the findings from decades of crop nutrition research across Australia and will contribute sound science as the basis for current and future policy development,” Mr Whan said.

Project leader, I&I NSW’s Dr Simon Speirs based at the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, said the project was expected to be completed by 30 June 2012.

The project involves substantial collaboration between GRDC, the fertiliser industry (Fertiliser Industry Federation of Australia, International Plant Nutrition Institute, Incitec Pivot, CSBP, Summit Fertilisers, Megafert and Impact Fertilisers), key consultants (Back Paddock Company, Geographic Web Solutions, K I P Consultancy Services, Reuter and Associates, and Dodgshun Medlin), state and federal agencies (I&I NSW, SARDI, DEEDI QLD, DAF WA, Vic DPI, TIAR and CSIRO), agribusiness (Landmark and Elders), and universities.

For more information - go to the project website: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/resources/soils/improvement/bfdc

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