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Making Better Fertiliser Decisions for Grazed Pastures in Australia
Fertilisers containing N, P, K and S continue to be a key requirement for the Australian grazing industries. However, increased community concerns about excess nutrients in water and the atmosphere means that farmers and service providers need access to the best possible information regarding optimum nutrient management practices for environmental as well as productivity benefits.
The Better Fertiliser Decisions (BFD) project provides a more tailored approach to nutrient management, based on the best available information for soil test targets and an improved understanding of nutrient loss processes and pathways. This will lead to improved nutrient efficiency on farm and reduce excess nutrients in the environment. The Better Fertiliser Decisions Technology Exchange Year (BFD TEY) was funded for the 2006-2007 financial year, as a way to gain maximum industry impact from the investment in the BFD project, which was completed in June 2006.
The principal objectives of the BFD project were to
(i) provide regionally specific and scientifically validated fertiliser-pasture production responses for various pasture types, climatic zones and soil types,
(ii) better define fertiliser management practices that account for nutrient loss processes and pathways, and
(iii) integrate production and environmental information into material and tools that can assist industry and government networks including fertiliser company advisers, environmental agencies, consultants, extension officers and farmers.
The BFD project delivered the most comprehensive collation and interpretation of soil test calibration studies for pasture production ever undertaken in Australia and probably internationally, as well as a Farm Nutrient Loss Index (FNLI) to assist farmers and advisors identify areas of environmental risk on their farms and take steps to reduce nutrient losses.
The goals of the Technology Exchange Year were to further develop BFD project products, including production of technical and extension information, and embed the project outputs into industry training and decision support programs. An important part of this process was to gain industry-wide acceptance of BFD products through critical analysis and discussion with industry specialists to generate trust and fully understand the implications of the project for the grazing industries.
Key achievements of the project include:
- Quality checking of all soil test and pasture response data.
- Thorough statistical analysis and interpretation of soil test pasture response relationships to develop a consistent, relevant approach to identify appropriate soil test levels for each soil type, region and enterprise.
- Discussion and revision of soil test pasture response relationships to address concerns of agronomists.
- Final soil test pasture response relationships and FNLI available at www.asris.csiro.au and in hardcopy.
- Project products distributed to more than 100 farm advisors that expressed interest in the results of the project.
- Project products distributed to key stakeholders and contributors to the project.
- Agreement with FIFA to incorporate the soil test pasture response relationships and FNLI into courses and FIFA's accreditation program.
- Major Australian fertiliser companies, IPL, CSBP, Impact and HiFert, have expressed interest in using project outputs in their fertiliser recommendation systems and software.
- Training sessions delivered to extension staff from DPI NSW, DPIV, and DPIF WA.
- Training sessions held with IPL, CSBP, Impact and Fertcare deliverers to assist integration of products into industry.
- Project results presented at 6 industry conferences and featured in 6 industry newsletters and 2 commercial rural press articles.
- Numerous awareness-raising presentations, both nationally and internationally, with stakeholders such as Regional Dairy Boards, CMAs, research and industry groups.
This page was last updated on 24/07/2017
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