Results from fertiliser trials put into practice

Media release
Increased confidence in the science behind efficient phosphorus application has seen major fertiliser companies incorporate the recent findings in the models they use to generate fertiliser advice they give to farmers.

The fertiliser industry has been a major partner in the State Government’s uPtake program that has established 32 phosphorus fertiliser trials on grazing land across the South West over the last two years.

Project Coordinator, Rob McFerran from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, said the involvement and support from the fertiliser industry was critical to success of the program.

“Fertiliser companies and independent agronomists are the main source of information for farmers on the type and amount of fertiliser they need to apply,” Mr McFerran said.

“Increased understanding of and confidence in the science behind efficient fertiliser use, allows agronomists and fertiliser companies to provide sound advice to farmers on fertiliser applications best suited to their situation, whilst minimising nutrient loss off-farm into the natural environment.

“A win for both the farmer and the environment.”

Confidence in data generated from the uPtake trials is also changing farming practices, and how phosphorus is applied.

Scott River farmer Andrew McNab has been a trial host farmer over the last two years.

“Being involved in the uPtake project and looking at the findings has enabled me to improve the way I apply phosphorus,” Mr McNab said.

“A better understanding of the fertiliser science means I am now more confident to leave off phosphorus if my soil tests show there is sufficient and apply other nutrients if needed.”

Trial results from the last two years were, also found to be consistent with national data from the Better Fertiliser Decisions for Pastures project.

“Knowing that the national data is relevant to South West WA grazing farms and contemporary pasture species has been an important outcome of the program,” Mr McFerran said.

Further trials will take place over the next two years, with the aim being to extend the trials findings to the wider farming community.

The project is funded with $3.26 million from the State Government's Healthy Estuaries WA program (formerly Regional Estuaries Initiative); and $2.35 million through the Australian Government's National Landcare Program and is delivered in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the grazing and fertiliser industry and catchment groups.

Page reviewed 3 June 2021