Strategies to Improve Efficiency of Use of Applied N, P and K Fertiliser in Central Queensland

GRDC - Author: Michael Bell (University of Queensland), David Lester (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries), Doug Sands (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

The authors of this paper note in the conclusion: “The principles of nutrient behaviour discussed in this paper are relevant across all regions and cropping systems, but we have attempted to highlight the combination of soil and seasonal characteristics that represent why rainfed cropping systems on Vertosols are unique. The research we have referred to in the earlier sections comes primarily from fieldwork conducted in southern and central Qld, so we have every confidence that these principles are broadly applicable across CQ.”. Please access the full paper via the link below if this research interests you.

The take home messages from this GRDC funded research are below. Please access the full paper via the link below for methodology, references, acknowledgements and discussion.

  • Available moisture has been the main limit to productivity in recent seasons but using that water efficiently to produce harvestable yield is impossible without adequate nutrients
  • The background nutrient status of soils in Central Qld is variable, but there is an increasing reliance on fertilisers to meet the demands of both cereal grains and pulses
  • With more $/ha invested in fertilisers, comes a need for efficient use of that fertiliser to ensure there is a return on that investment
  • A common cause of low efficiency of fertiliser recovery in cereal and legume crops is that nutrients and water are increasingly located in different parts of the soil profile
  • There needs to be greater consideration of fertiliser placement, product and timing to improve fertiliser nutrient recovery, and strategies need to be based on a solid understanding of the interactions between crop root systems, soil characteristics and nutrient dynamics against a background of variable seasonal moisture availability.

Figure 6. Grain yield responses to deep banded applications of P and K alone, or in combination, for chickpea and sorghum crops in different seasons at different sites across CQ from 2013-2017

2020 - Australia - GRDC - Author: Michael Bell (University of Queensland), David Lester (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries), Doug Sands (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)
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