05 Mar 2013

Better Fertilizer Decisions for Crops

a GRDC collaborative project
Canola 175 kg N/ha

Through the collaboration of virtually all state and federal agencies with fertilizer companies, a database of nearly 6000 experiments has been compiled for N, P, K and S in the Australian grains industry. The project - led by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries - drew data back to 1958 on and has now made those data available for scrutiny and interogation. The key driver for this project was to capture this legacy data and make it searchable and interpretable through a web-based interface. Termed the BFDC Interogator, this interface can be used to collate data by crop, soil type, nutrient, soil test types, time, season, and soil depth - to develop a critical soil test value for that particular combination of conditions - especially soil type by crop by nutrient/test.
The interogator was released in July 2012 and users have been trained to use the database and interpret the data produced. The Interrogator enables users from the grains and fertilizer industries to better estimate critical soil test values for their particular situations and so improve fertilizer management. The database underpins the Australian fertilizer industry’s Fertcare program for advisors making recommendations to grain growers. It also assists direct future research to address identified knowledge gaps. The Interrogater was commissioned in March 2012, and can be found at www.bfdc.com.au.
The outcomes from this project are
  • A new set of critical soil test values for Australia
  • A data set that captures and archives legacy data older experiments as well as making them interpretable
  • Protocols for future nutrient experiments, including key areas to be addressed and a description of minimum datasets required.
  • A repository for new experiments
Many of the outcomes will be published in a special edition of Crop and Pasture Science scheduled for July 2013.

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