New ap­proach shows prom­ise

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Ag Life -

Tri­als of a rel­a­tively new ap­proach to fer­til­is­ing dry­land ce­real crops dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son have en­tered their sec­ond year, fol­low­ing promis­ing re­sults in 2016.

Mid-row band­ing of ni­tro­gen, N, in-sea­son in­creased up­take of ni­tro­gen fer­tiliser in wheat by more than 50 per­cent – when com­pared with other meth­ods of in-sea­son N ap­pli­ca­tion – in Victorian tri­als last year.

Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria’s re­gional re­search agron­o­mist Ash­ley Wal­lace, who has un­der­taken the work as part of the Grains Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and Victorian Depart­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Jobs, Trans­port and Re­sources Bi­lat­eral Re­search Agree­ment, de­scribed the out­comes from the tri­als as en­cour­ag­ing.

“Tri­als of mid-row band­ing of N in-sea­son have pro­duced promis­ing re­sults, in­clud­ing in­creas­ing fer­tiliser up­take by an av­er­age of 46 per­cent and up to 52 per­cent in wheat when com­pared with other meth­ods of in-sea­son N ap­pli­ca­tion,” he said.

“The method also boosted grain yield by up to 0.5 tonnes-hectare.”

Re­sults from mid-row band­ing tri­als in 2016 – an ex­cep­tional year in terms of rain and yields in many parts of the south­ern re­gion in­clud­ing the Wim­mera and Mallee where the tri­als oc­curred – are be­ing val­i­dated this year, with fur­ther tri­als un­der­way at Ul­tima, Hor­sham and Te­lan­gatuk. Mr Wal­lace said there had been a sig­nif­i­cant swing to­wards in-sea­son man­age­ment of N fer­tiliser in south­ern dry­land crop­ping re­gions as grow­ers looked to im­prove man­age­ment amid vari­able sea­sonal con­di­tions.

He said the crop’s de­mand for N was largely de­ter­mined by its yield po­ten­tial, which was strongly re­lated to grow­ing-sea­son rain.

Last year’s tri­als at Lon­gerenong and Quam­bat­ook aimed to com­pare mid-row band­ing with other forms of in-sea­son N ap­pli­ca­tion, in­clud­ing top-dressed, liq­uid fo­liar and mid-row sur­face ap­pli­ca­tions of N.

At each trial site, the first tim­ing of ap­pli­ca­tion co­in­cided with fore­cast rain in the days fol­low­ing, while the sec­ond tim­ing of ap­pli­ca­tion co­in­cided with dry weather fore­cast in the days fol­low­ing.

“Re­sults from 2016 in­di­cated that the ben­e­fit of mid-row band­ing to crop up­take of N was greater where rain­fall was lim­ited soon af­ter ap­pli­ca­tion and the sur­face ap­plied urea was not washed into the root­ing zone, which sug­gests mid-row band­ing could be a more ef­fec­tive way of ap­ply­ing N un­der drier sea­sonal con­di­tions,” Mr Wal­lace said.

A re­port of the 2016 trial re­sults, co-au­thored by Mr Wal­lace, is avail­able for view­ing and down­load­ing via the GRDC web­site at https://grdc. com.au/mid-row-n-fer­tiliser.

RE­SEARCH: Wal­lace. Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria re­gional re­search agron­o­mist Ash­ley Pic­ture: PIOTR TREBICKL

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