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Crop farmers to benefit from nutrient advice

PRACTICAL SESSION: Dr Mike Bell, who heads the soils and farming systems research team at UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, addresses growers at last week’s More Profit from Crop Nutrition II field walk at Wondalli, Goondiwindi.
PRACTICAL SESSION: Dr Mike Bell, who heads the soils and farming systems research team at UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, addresses growers at last week’s More Profit from Crop Nutrition II field walk at Wondalli, Goondiwindi. Contributed

NORTHERN region growers are being offered an insight into the relationship between soil nutrient balance and crop profitability, in a series of More Profit from Crop Nutrition workshops and field walks.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry researcher and project leader Dr Kaara Klepper said the workshops provided growers with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of soil and crop nutrition and discuss individual issues related to crop production, soil testing, nutrient budgeting, crop yield and grain protein targets.

"As well as soil testing and interpreting critical soil nutrient values, farmers can discuss nitrogen budgeting, nitrogen use efficiency and mineralisation, P and K stratification, soil nutrient pools and the role of trace elements," Dr Klepper said.

The workshops and field walks are being conducted as part of the MPCN II northern region nutrition training and extension project, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Department of Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry. It combines informational workshops with on-farm research-based field walks to help producers understand soil and crop nutrient dynamics and how best to implement a nutrient management strategy to suit their farming system.

The most recent MPCN II field walk and workshops were held near Goondiwindi, in Dalby and Condamine last week, with further New South Wales workshops to be held at Mungindi on February 21, Gunnedah on February 25 and Dubbo on March 6.

Presenter at the Dalby and Condamine workshops Dr Chris Dowling, of the Back Paddock Company, challenged growers on whether they soil-tested to identify a problem, as part of routine checks or to calculate optimum fertiliser rates.

"Interestingly, an issue raised at the Dalby workshop was how sorghum responds to applied deep P," Dr Klepper said. She added Dalby growers were also particularly interested in exploring the reasons they achieved sorghum yields higher than what they targeted with nitrogen.

Other issues growers at the Dalby session identified were the loss of nitrogen following the floods and the role of legumes in rotation as green manure crops, Dr Klepper said.

Topics:  grdc soil health