Farm Table says:
What is the problem?
Managing nitrogen (N) fertilisers in dryland cropping is complex;
• uncertainty of crop demand
• difficulty in predicting in-season mineralization
• potential losses
• microbial tie-upare several factors that affect the efficacy of N application.
Delayed application and banding of fertilizer below the soil surface, through mid-row banding (MRB) may help to reduce some of these risks.
What did the research involve?
Trials were undertaken at Quambatook and Longerenong in 2016 to assess the effect of mid-row banding nitrogen fertilizer (urea) in comparison to top-dressed granular and a range of other liquid based methods of application.
What were the key findings?
Trials showed that mid-row banding of nitrogen increased fertilizer uptake by an average of 46% (40-52%) in wheat compared to other application methods.
Exceptional growing season rainfall during 2016 resulted in high yield potential and significant responses to applied nitrogen at all rates tested.
Mid-row banding of nitrogen fertilizer consistently resulted in the highest grain yield compared with other methods of application, increasing yields by 0.2-0.5 t/ha.
Mid-row banding of N has the potential to improve nitrogen use efficiency and is likely to offer a range of risk management and logistical benefits.
Trails being validated at Ultima, Horsham and Telangatuk, Victoria in 2017.
Results from 2016 are promising and this work will continue during 2017 to gather further evidence of the potential benefits of MRB N fertilizers in-season to improve uptake and NUE.