Nitrogen (N) rates on crops has been somewhat of a hot topic in the last few years with applied N ever-increasing and growers looking to fine tune their overall requirements, as well as timing of applications as yields increase.

Rates of N applied is dependent on crop type, yield potential, location and is also  something that is very seasonally dependent.

CSBP is currently piloting the Applied Agronomy service in season 2020. This service assists growers to plan and implement a paddock scale trial utilising your own equipment to produce a tailored recommendation and establish the ideal fertiliser rates in your paddock to maximise returns. For example optimising N rates to establish the ideal N rate for a particular crop and paddock.

In the Great Southern district we have two customers participating in the Applied Agronomy Pilot and in Broomehill we are running both canola and barley trials. In Broomehill we are looking at total N rates ranging from 49 to 195 units/ha of N applied as Flexi-N in season.

We are aiming to provide the grower with a better understanding of their own yield potential this season as well as looking to provide them with the information, specific to their own property, to adjust their seasonal N applications going forward.

Fig 1 - Trial treatments

Fig 2 - trial design in paddock

In addition to the top rate of 326 L/ha of Flexi-N, the paddock also received 80 kg/ha of Urea one month prior to treatments being applied, as well as 30 L/ha Flexi-N two weeks post.

The trial paddock itself is a barley on barley rotation and this was of particular interest to the grower as that rotation is likely to become more common in years to come. We have seen massive visual changes in the crop already, both growth and colour changes, approximately four weeks post treatment application. 

63 kg ha N LHS v 200 kg ha N

Recent average yields on Barley at this property have been around 3.7-4 t and, given strong recent rainfall events, we expect the higher rate treatments to yield significantly more than that. 

By Nathaniel Wedderburn
- Area Manager

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