Dry years obviously reduce yield potential and demand for nitrogen (N) fertiliser but crops will respond if soils are deficient enough and the N strategy is effective.

This year two trials near Binnu and Carnamah showed that banding higher rates of Flexi-N at seeding could be very profitable in a dry year, and more effective than late tillering/early stem elongation applications.

At both sites, the growing season rainfall was about 150mm with most of it falling within a month of the break of the season (June 6). Both sites had a long cropping, no legumes for many years, and soil N reserves had been run down by some above-average crops.

At Binnu, banding 100 L/ha Flexi-N increased yields from 0.4 to 0.7 t/ha. There was no response to applying 100 L/ha Flexi-N at early stem elongation on 8 August.

At Carnamah, banding 100 L/ha Flexi-N increased yields from 1.0 to 1.4 t/ha. The response to applying it on 6 August was only 0.2 t/ha.

At both sites, banding Flexi-N was effective and profitable. Applying N at early stem elongation was not effective and not profitable - there wasn’t the follow-up rain to make it effective.

‘Playing the Season’ can be risky without follow-up rain.

These trials showed that the risk of financial losses could be reduced by banding N at seeding. 

These trials showed that, in a low rainfall environment, banding as much as 100 L/ha Flexi-N could be more profitable than playing the season. 

Wheat grain yields and economics from CSBP trials at Binnu and Carnamah. 

Wheat grain yields and economics from CSBP trials at Binnu and Carnamah

James Easton
By James Easton
- Senior Agronomist

James has over 30 years’ experience working on soil and plant nutrition (crops and pastures).

He graduated from the University of Western Australia with a degree in Agricultural Science (Honours). He has in depth knowledge of historic fertiliser research trials and has worked closely with many growers, consultants, research institutions and farming groups over the years.

James gets a lot of satisfaction from sharing his knowledge with growers and those who support them. And he enjoys the fact that we are always learning.

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