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Nitrogen Management Project

Nitrogen (N) deficiency remains one of the single greatest factors that unnecessarily limits yield in Australian broadacre production.

Over the past two years, we partnered with Farmlink on a Nitrogen Management project ‘Utilising new technologies to better manage within-paddock nitrogen variability and sustainably close the yield gap in Southern NSW ’, funded by the National Landcare Programme.  

The results of the project highlighted moderate to high levels of N variability across a selection of paddocks in Southern NSW. The project also investigated the efficiency of a range of methods for defining and managing the variability.

Key outcomes of the project were as follows:

  • Measuring the variability in soil N through grid soil sampling or zone-based sampling was essential in the calculation of the N requirements for crop production.
  • Grain protein and yield data allowed the plant itself to indicate the adequacy of the N supply. The protein data generally matched the pre-sowing soil N measured, suggesting that protein can be used to guide pre-sowing soil sampling and develop a targeted N strategy. However, canola oil and protein percentage did not show the same potential.
  •  Mapping of soil textural variability, for example using EM38, was another reliable way of establishing zones for targeted N sampling and management.

Given the immense productivity and environmental benefits of improved site-specific N management, this project has shown the considerable potential for these methods to refine N management strategies on farm.

To understand how you can implement these strategies on your own farm, please contact your nearest Precision Agriculture office.

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