Category: Strategic Planning

Get the most out of soil testing 2017

Soil testing informs crop nutrition decisions. Collecting representative samples is the most important step in getting useful information.
Plan your soil sampling

Map non-uniform paddocks into zones. Base the zones on observed soil differences (or EM38 maps if available), and sample them separately.
Use a sampling plan within zones. Grids, zig zags and […]

Use paddock test strips to get the most out of your fertiliser budget

Paddock nutrient test strips showed two nutrient deficiencies in Justin Wundke’s barley crop. Justin and family run a cropping and prime sheep enterprise in South Australia.
Before sowing last year’s crop Justin knew his paddock could have an issue with sulfur deficiency. Justin set up some test strips in his paddock after […]

Last year’s most popular crop nutrition stories

eXtensionAUS Crop Nutrition published 49 articles in 2016. These were the most popular:

Can I burn lime and gypsum with stubble?

Bottom line: Loss of limestone will be minimal, gypsum might lose some solubility.
2. Three reasons why topdressing nitrogen can fail
Not enough rain after topdressing, too wet, too late!
3. The best frost tactics for […]

Compaction concerns showing up in soil pits

Soil compaction caught the eye of growers and advisors at recent field days. Soil pits were part of every More Profit from Crop Nutrition roadshow field day. Soil scientists explained what they could see in the soil profiles.
Crop nutrition relies on roots exploring the soil to access nutrients. Ideally, soil […]

A shift in soil pH can improve Phosphorus response

 Soil pH and phosphorus (P) fertiliser can interact to make soil phosphorus more available. This can happen when:

there are no other major nutrient deficiencies.
recent lime application has produced a large change in soil pH (>0.5 pH units).

The soil pH and P interaction is driven by changes to root growth in […]

In tough conditions crops do better with potassium

Having sufficient potassium reduces crop damage in frost events. Field trials in Western Australia showed benefits from potassium in wheat and canola. Richard Bell is a researcher at Murdoch University. In this video he explains:

Crops respond more to potassium fertiliser in seasons that stress the plants with drought or frost […]

Do I need to worry about the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the soil?

There is a story going around that the ratios of available cations in soils affects crops and pastures.  The idea of a ‘balanced’ soil gained favour in the USA from work in the 1940s. The ‘ideal soil’ had approximately 65% Ca, 10% Mg, and 5% K as exchangeable cations. This […]

Why should you address more than the most limiting subsoil nutrient?

When both phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are both low in the subsoil there’s a strategic advantage to managing these two nutrients together. Deep phosphorus (P) deficiency is more common than deep potassium (K) deficiency. It’s unusual to see low subsoil K not accompanied by low subsoil P.
Without adequate […]