If we ever needed a reminder that nitrogen (N) deficiencies could be widespread this year, than the images below are perhaps all we need. 

They highlight the sharp drop in soil nitrate-N levels from last year - courtesy of a bumper crop for most of the State and limited mineralisation of organic N since.

The red dots signify samples with less than 5 mg/kg nitrate N – equivalent to less than 6 to 8 kg of N/ha in the top 10cm. When it rains, we will get more N from mineralisation of organic matter, but the this will be limited by low organic matter levels and cooler temperatures. All of these factors will make us more dependent on N fertiliser at seeding in order to get good crop establishment. 

None of this should come as any surprise. Just a reminder to be prepared to use more N at seeding. 

WA soil nitrate levels 0 - 10 cm samples 

Soil nitrate N measured in 0-10cm samples in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 soil sampling seasons.

James Easton
By James Easton
- Senior Agronomist
James joined CSBP in 1988 and has over 30 years’ experience in agriculture.

James has been involved in Field Research through various roles as an Agricultural Officer, Area Manager, Regional Agronomist and Field Research Manager and is now Senior Agronomist. As Senior Agronomist he works with the CSBP Research and Agronomy teams to further our understanding of crop and pasture fertiliser requirements under constantly evolving farming systems and practices.

James is passionate about plant nutrition and sharing this knowledge with work colleagues and farmers as well as with the broader industry. 

Agronomic insights

Want to stay up to date? Have our latest research findings and news delivered to your inbox