Crop nutrition, soil testing and fertiliser

Resources

Soil Wealth and ICP Achievements Phase 1

Soil Wealth and ICP Achievements Phase 1
31 May 2017

The Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection projects provide R&D extension services, products and communication on improved soil management and plant health to the Australian vegetable industry.

Over the past 3-years, RMCG and AHR have delivered the projects for Horticulture Innovation Australia. Phase 1 of the projects have now been completed. So, what’s been achieved?

Phosphorus and soil biology - common questions answered

Phosphorus and soil biology - common questions answered
18 Oct 2017

This presentation provides a great overview of the role of phosphorus in soil biology by Dr Cassandra Schefe, from Monash University and Schefe Consulting.

Making the most of your Nitrogen

Making the most of your Nitrogen
11 Oct 2017

Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient for plant growth, development and reproduction, so it’s important to ensure your crops have enough!

Read this fact sheet to find out more about the steps to providing the right amount of nitrogen, managing and monitoring N, and how nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) data can be interpreted.

Nematodes in vegetable soils - managing the bad and good ones with Dr Sarah Collins (webinar recording)

Nematodes in vegetable soils - managing the bad and good ones with Dr Sarah Collins (webinar recording)
10 Oct 2017

This webinar with Nematode specialist Dr Sarah Collins from Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development WA focused on the pest nematode, outlining the life cycles of the root-knot and root-lesion nematodes and how this can be used to target control measures.

The webinar also covered beneficial free living nematodes and how these can be managed and used as soil health indicators.

Soil Wealth and Crop Health: Vital Components to Potato and Vegetable Crops

Soil Wealth and Crop Health: Vital Components to Potato and Vegetable Crops
15 Aug 2017

Members of the Soil Wealth and ICP team were recently interviewed for the Potatoes Australia magazine. The key message? Many of the soil health and plant protection practices relevant to vegetables, also apply to potatoes.

Click through to read the article.

SOILpak for vegetable growers in NSW

SOILpak for vegetable growers in NSW
14 Aug 2017

The Vegetable SOILpak manual was developed by NSW Department of Primary Industries to provide soil information relevant to irrigated vegetable production in New South Wales. The manual aims to provide decision support for landholders and advisers, helping to maintain or improve productivity over both the short and long term.

Soil Testing and Interpretation for Vegetable Crops: A guide

Soil Testing and Interpretation for Vegetable Crops: A guide
8 May 2017

The purpose of this guide is to help growers and agronomists interpret conventional ‘chemical’ soil tests and identify soil chemical constraints for commercial vegetable production in Australia.

This resource can be used to guide site specific decisions on nutrition management. It does NOT provide prescriptive information on how much of a certain nutrient or fertiliser to apply to various vegetable crops. A recipe approach is not recommended because results in crop performance would be unreliable.

A soil test, combined with a visual soil assessment, and knowledge about paddock history and production plans, provides a sound basis for a nutrition program. A conventional soil test can provide some information about biological and physical soil properties. While a complete soil condition assessment covers physical, biological and chemical soil properties of the topsoil and subsoil.

Nutrition management and plant disease with Dr Len Tesoriero (webinar recording)

Nutrition management and plant disease with Dr Len Tesoriero (webinar recording)
28 Feb 2017

A webinar on nutrition management and plant disease presented by Dr Len Tesoriero as part of the Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection projects.

Anhydrous ammonia for vegetable crops: Could it be a viable proposition?

Anhydrous ammonia for vegetable crops: Could it be a viable proposition?
12 Jan 2017

Anhydrous ammonia has long been used as a preplant and side dressing fertiliser in the cotton and grain industries. It results in a high retention of nitrogen in the soil, reduced leaching of nitrates through the soil and yield increases in various crops. However, it needs to be treated with care as it can cause injury to farm workers.

Anhydrous ammonia has beneficial effects on soil microbes, nitrifying bacteria and worms. It is more suited to row crops rather than babyleaf crops, where even distribution nitrogen in the soil is required.

Developing a fertilizer program for vegetable crops with Bruce Scott & Doris Blaesing (webinar recording)

Developing a fertilizer program for vegetable crops with Bruce Scott & Doris Blaesing (webinar recording)
14 Nov 2016

This webinar series aims to provide evidence based knowledge to make good decisions on site-specific nutrient management of vegetable crops using soil and plant testing and the 4R principles (right source, right rate, right time and right place).

The third webinar in the series focuses on developing a fertilizer program and features well-respected specialists Bruce Scott (E.E. Muir & Sons) and Dr Doris Blaesing.

From Health to Wealth: Looking after soils for vegetable production 

From Health to Wealth: Looking after soils for vegetable production 
11 Nov 2016

Soil health refers to the fitness of the soil to achieve its potential, within natural or managed limitations, and be productive under
the intended land use. Healthy soils have physical, chemical and biological properties that sustain biological functioning, maintain environmental quality and promote plant, animal and human health.

This practical fact sheet outlines the importance of healthy soil, its characteristics and how to get there, as well as the main soil health issues and potential solutions.

Nitrous oxide emissions from vegetable soils: What's all the fuss about?

Nitrous oxide emissions from vegetable soils: What's all the fuss about?
7 Nov 2016

Nitrogen is a key input into vegetable production. Applying high levels of nitrogen, either as fertiliser, compost or amendments is necessary to achieve high yields, but it can also result in nitrous oxide gas being released into the atmosphere.

This fact sheet provides useful information on the loss of plant available nitrogen, reducing nitrous oxide emissions, nitrogen management (the 4 R's) and keeping informed through soil testing.

Leaf and sap testing for managing vegetabe crop nutrition with Bruce Scott, Doris Blaesing and Gordon Rogers (webinar recording)

Leaf and sap testing for managing vegetabe crop nutrition with Bruce Scott, Doris Blaesing and Gordon Rogers (webinar recording)
28 Sep 2016

View the leaf and sap testing for vegetable crops webinar broadcast on the 27th September 2016 by Bruce Scott, Doris Blaesing and Gordon Rogers from the Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection team and E.E. Muir & Sons.

Variable Rate Technologies in Queensland vegetables

Variable Rate Technologies in Queensland vegetables
14 Sep 2016

Crop sensing is allowing the adoption of variable rate management to address yield variability, improve management of inputs and maximise productivity.

Soils in Schools initiative by Soil Science Australia

Soils in Schools initiative by Soil Science Australia
21 Jul 2016

The Soils in Schools program started in 2015, the UN declared International Year of Soils. It is an initiative of Soil Science Australia.

This programs vision is to communicate and educate school children on the relevance of soils in everyday life and to encourage a wider interest in our soil resources.

Soil Testing for Vegetabe Crops: Webinar recording

Soil Testing for Vegetabe Crops: Webinar recording
19 Jul 2016

Doris Blaesing and Gordon Rogers from the Soil Wealth team, presented a webinar on how to get the most from soil testing for vegetable crops.

If you missed this popular webinar, you can view the recording and download the presentation from here.

Soil Testing for Vegetable Crops with Doris Blaesing and Gordon Rogers (webinar recording)

Soil Testing for Vegetable Crops with Doris Blaesing and Gordon Rogers (webinar recording)
13 Jul 2016

Doris Blaesing and Gordon Rogers from the Soil Wealth team, presented a webinar on how to get the most from soil testing for vegetable crops.

If you missed this popular webinar, you can view the recording and download the presentation from here.

Kalfresh Farm Walk and demonstration site update: June 2016

Kalfresh Farm Walk and demonstration site update: June 2016
7 Jul 2016

The Soil Wealth and ICP projects have managed a demonstration site at Kalfresh since early 2015.

The results from the demonstration site confirm that by following four principles in managing vegetable cropping soils, both soil condition and financial returns can be maximised. It’s a true win:win situation.

Nutrient element functions in vegetable crops 

Nutrient element functions in vegetable crops 
7 Jul 2016

Plant nutrients are commonly split into two categories:

• Major elements (macronutrients) that are required in relatively large quantities by plants, and
• Trace elements (micronutrients) that are essential for plant growth, but are only required in small amounts.

All elements must be available in a form that is useable by the plant, and in balanced concentrations that allow optimum plant growth.

Download this great summary of what the plant nutrients do, and how they need to be applied for the plant to make best use of your investment in fertilisers.

Taking soil samples

Taking soil samples
6 Jul 2016

Soil sampling and testing is usually done prior to planting a crop; specific in-crop testing can be useful e.g. testing for available nitrate and ammonium.

A soil test report is only as good as the care taken in sampling. Tools and equipment should be cleaned prior to collecting each sample. Completing labels and writing on bags or containers before going out to the field can save some time and confusion.

Read this fact sheet for guidance on how to take soil samples correctly and obtain reliable information on the nutrient status of your soil.

Review of Current Vegetable Irrigation Technologies

Review of Current Vegetable Irrigation Technologies
5 Jul 2016

This summary provides Australian vegetable growers with an understanding of available and emerging irrigation practices and technologies that could improve profitability and encourage the uptake of more efficient water practices.

Silicon for crop health

Silicon for crop health
28 Jun 2016

Silicon is an available nutrient for all plants grown in soil, with its content in plant tissue ranging from 0.1%-10%. Although it is not currently classified as an essential nutrient for plant growth, recent research suggests that silicon may have a significant role to play in plant health.

Read this fact sheet to learn more about the benefits of silicon on crop health and subsequent production, including improved nutrient availability, plant resistance to pest and disease pressure, and improved resilience to environmental stress. Guidance on how to choose a silicon product is also provided.

Reducing transplant shock in lettuce

Reducing transplant shock in lettuce
13 May 2016

Transplant shock is a check in growth that can occur when seedlings are transplanted from the seedling tray into the field. Stresses due to root damage, changed environment or water stress can all contribute to transplant shock. Significant transplant shock can result in poor plant stands and a lower percentage cut of good quality lettuce.

This fact sheet provides guidance on the ideal age of transplants and tips for avoiding transplant shock.

Carbon storage in vegetable soils

Carbon storage in vegetable soils
2 May 2016

Maintaining or increasing soil carbon makes good sense – for the environment and for soil productivity. While climate scientists talk about soil carbon, you will know it better as soil organic matter. And the productivity benefits of soil organic matter are legendary:

• Providing a slow release supply of nutrients
• Improving cation exchange capacity and nutrient- holding ability
• Buffering against soil acidity
• Improving soil structure and aggregate stability
• Improving soil water holding capacity
• Reducing erosion risk.

This fact sheet summaries the opportunities and management options for mitigating or sequestering soil carbon in vegetable soils.

Pre-harvest effects on the quality of babyleaf spinach

Pre-harvest effects on the quality of babyleaf spinach
11 Apr 2016

One of the key issues with babyleaf spinach is how to deliver this popular leafy vegetable to consumers in good condition. For this to happen, growers must first produce high quality spinach, and this quality must be maintained throughout the supply chain until it’s used by the consumer.

This fact sheet explores the three most significant pre-harvest factors that affect spinach post-harvest quality and shelf-life. These are growth rate of crop, variety, and minimum night temperature during the growing period.

Pre-harvest effects on lettuce quality

Pre-harvest effects on lettuce quality
11 Apr 2016

Lettuce is an important horticultural crop in Australia, with an annual production over 160 million tonnes and a total gross value of $140 million. Lettuce is regularly purchased by 80% of consumers in Australia.

The key quality attributes for whole and fresh-cut lettuce are moisture loss, shrivelling, colour (browning, bleaching of the green colour), off-odours, and off-flavour formation, breakdown and microbiological contamination.

This fact sheet will assist you to address these key quality attributes through important pre-harvest crop management such as developing a crop planting schedule, mineral nutrition, tip burn management, deficit irrigation, floating row covers and light.

Legume cover crops can increase spinach yield

Legume cover crops can increase spinach yield
30 Mar 2016

Applied Horticultural Research team set up a “cover crop” trial there as a real farm demonstration to help growers adopt sustainable practices, and, importantly, improve their bottom line. The trial, near Cowra, in the Central West region of NSW.

All the cover crops resulted in higher yields than the fallow control. The highest yields in this trial were obtained with clover (+48%) and field peas (+36%), but ryegrass alone and compost were also effective in increasing yields compared to bare fallow.

Precision vegetable cropping on Landline

Precision vegetable cropping on Landline
8 Feb 2016

Check out how precision farming techniques are being adapted to vegetable production.

Best Management Practices to Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions for Annual Vegetable Production

Best Management Practices to Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions for Annual Vegetable Production
1 Feb 2016

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a gas which under certain soil and environmental conditions is produced from both soil mineralised and fertiliser nitrogen (N) by de-nitrifying bacteria. For the farmer this represents a loss of soil fertility and/or loss of applied fertiliser. Additionally, when in the atmosphere N2O is a potent greenhouse gas. This is why it is important to minimise the loss of valuable soil and fertiliser N to the atmosphere through these processes. This BMP fact sheet sets out how this can be achieved by farmers producing vegetables.

Soil Carbon Snapshot

Soil Carbon Snapshot
1 Feb 2016

There has been a renewed focus to better understand the role and function of soil carbon in Australian agricultural situations. This summary provides a snapshot of current knowledge and signposts the key messages and reports coming from recent research and investigations across Australia. It includes:
• An introduction to soil carbon and its role
• An overview of recent research and implications for land management practices
• Useful links to key information sources.

Southern Fields Vegetable Farm Demonstration Site - Experiences from leading growers

Southern Fields Vegetable Farm Demonstration Site - Experiences from leading growers
1 Feb 2016

Hear from Tasmanian lettuce grower Colin Houston about the exciting demonstrations being run on his new farm aimed at improving profitability and sustainability.

Managing nitrous oxide emissions from soil and fertiliser

Managing nitrous oxide emissions from soil and fertiliser
29 Jan 2016

This 5 minute video clip describes how nitrous oxide emissions from soils and nitrogen fertiliser can be managed using right source (product), rate, time and place principles.

What's the story with soil carbon

What's the story with soil carbon
29 Jan 2016

A seven minute overview of soil carbon in agriculture.

The Soil Story

The Soil Story
14 Dec 2015

A summary of the importance of soil, soil science and good soil management from a Victorian perspective.

Plant Nutrition Basics: Understanding the Principles to Optimise the Practices

Plant Nutrition Basics: Understanding the Principles to Optimise the Practices
8 Oct 2015

This presentation by Patrick Brown from the University of California provides an outline of the principles of plant nutrition including nutrient function and mobility in plants, soil and leaf testing, nutrient management, and plant nutrient uptake and response to fertiliser.

Advanced Biological Farming

Advanced Biological Farming
8 Oct 2015

This book by Gary Zimmer, a farmer in the United States, provides support for farmers who would like to reduce chemical inputs and use natural processes within their farming systems.

Sustainable Management of Soil-borne Plant Diseases

Sustainable Management of Soil-borne Plant Diseases
6 Oct 2015

This publication from ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) in the United States provides information on improving disease suppression within soil.

Soil solution analysis

Soil solution analysis
28 Sep 2015

Soil salinity can cause salt burn, affect crop quality and reduce yield. Incorrect soil nitrate levels affect crop growth, quality and yield and excessive nitrogen applications are wasteful and can result in contamination of water tables and waterways. It is essential that soil salinity and nitrate levels be monitored throughout the crop cycle to ensure optimum crop growth.

Soil solution extraction and analysis can inexpensively monitor both salt and nitrate throughout the growing season to ensure optimum crop growth.

To find out more please refer to this fact sheet developed by Steven Falivene from the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Brassica Information Kit. Agrilink, your growing guide to better farming guide

Brassica Information Kit. Agrilink, your growing guide to better farming guide
21 May 2015

This website contains a series of documents to guide you through the successful prodution of Brassica crops.

Quick guide to farm nitrogen

Quick guide to farm nitrogen
27 Apr 2015

This fact sheet covers the Sources of nitrogen on farm, Fertiliser use - what to do and what to avoid and a Quick guide to the main nitrogen sources in fertilisers.