Soil, Nutrition and Compost

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Calcium cyanamide fertiliser: Economics

June 2019
Calcium cyanamide fertiliser: Economics

Calcium cyanamide Fertiliser, also known as nitrolime, has been used in Germany as a slow release nitrogen and calcium fertiliser with liming effect for over 100 years.

This fact sheet documents the findings from a grower-led demonstration where calcium cyanamide (CaCN2) was applied as a wax coated fertiliser prior to a carrot crop in Western Australia in 2017.

Erosion control machinery - Harvest Moon, TAS case study demonstration site

March 2019
Erosion control machinery - Harvest Moon, TAS case study demonstration site

The Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection case study demo site in north west Tasmania is Harvest Moon. This fact sheet showcases one of the practices employed at Harvest Moon, the ripper mulcher, which is used to manage the risk of soil erosion.

Vegetable cropping can leave topsoil vulnerable to significant erosion, and the ripper mulchers are free for Tasmanian growers to borrow and use.

Getting soil pH right - Lime quality and application rates

January 2019
Getting soil pH right - Lime quality and application rates

Soil acidification, the drop in soil pH, is due to several factors including leaching of nitrate nitrogen, nutrient uptake by crops and root exudates, build-up of soil organic matter and use of nitrogenous fertilisers containing ammonium and urea.

Choosing the right lime product and applying it at the correct rate is important in managing soil acidification and the subsequent impact on vegetable crops.

Read this useful fact sheet to find out more about the causes and effects of soil acidification, how liming increases soil pH differently depending on your soil type, different products, as well as managing paddock variability.

Strip-till in Tasmanian vegetable crops

December 2018
Strip-till in Tasmanian vegetable crops

Strip-till is a system of cultivation that works strips of soil where the crop will be planted or sown and leaves most of the soil covered and undisturbed.

Read this fact sheet to find out more about the benefits and challenges of strip-till, as well practical considerations out in the paddock.

Soil health and water use efficiency

October 2018
Soil health and water use efficiency

Using water efficiently means applying enough water to meet the needs of the crop - not more, not less.

A soil in good condition consists of around 50% solid matter; this includes organic matter. The remaining space should be half filled with air and half with water. Organic matter is the main driver of soil health.

Read this practical fact sheet for guidance on readily available water (RAW) and soil texture, as well as healthy soil conditions.

Labile carbon

September 2018
Labile carbon

Labile carbon is the carbon most readily available as a carbon and energy source to microorganisms.

Read this fact sheet to find out more about labile carbon and its use as a 'leading indicator' of soil health, as well as undertaking your own labile carbon field test to see for yourself.

Calcium Cyanamide Fertiliser; Use in vegetables

October 2017
Calcium Cyanamide Fertiliser; Use in vegetables

Calcium Cyanamide Fertiliser, also known as nitrolime, has been used in Germany as a slow release nitrogen and calcium fertiliser with liming e ect for over 100 years. It was introduced into Australia by the German manufacturer Alzchemie AG Germany (www.alzchem.com) in 1996.

Making the most of your Nitrogen

October 2017
Making the most of your Nitrogen

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.

Managing cover crop residues in vegetable production

May 2017
Managing cover crop residues in vegetable production

This fact sheet outlines key factors and the management options for the successful transition from cover crop to cash crop in vegetable production systems.

Soil Testing and Interpretation for Vegetable Crops: A guide

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

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.

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

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

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.

Forthside Demonstration Site: Soil amendments on vegetable crops

December 2016
Forthside Demonstration Site: Soil amendments on vegetable crops

Over the past four years, the effect of pyrethrum marc on vegetable crops has been compared with biochar, oaten chaff and conventional fertilisers at a trial site in Tasmania.

Pyrethrum marc can offer benefits as a soil conditioner and also as a source of nutrients for crops. Amendments can provide benefits for one or more years after application. Therefore, soil testing and monitoring combined with a fertiliser program is important for making the most of the economic benefits. Based on the crops grown and yields achieved in this trial, if pyrethrum marc was $60-65/t delivered, it would provide at least similar returns to conventional fertiliser.

Read this fact sheet to learn more about the trial, crops grown, treatments, and results.

From Health to Wealth: Looking after soils for vegetable production 

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

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?

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

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.

Using compost safely: A guide for the use of recycled organics in horticulture

October 2016
Using compost safely: A guide for the use of recycled organics in horticulture

Compost is a mixture of recycled organic materials that have been processed by natural organisms, breaking down the original materials into a usable form. Compost has many benefits for soil. It can feed plants, stimulate beneficial microbes, improve soil structure and help the soil retain nutrients, water and warmth.

This guide describes how fresh produce growers can use compost without affecting their food safety assurance program.

Safe compost for fruit and vegetables: A guide for the supply of recycled organics to fresh produce growers

October 2016
Safe compost for fruit and vegetables: A guide for the supply of recycled organics to fresh produce growers

Compost is a mixture of recycled organic materials that have been processed by natural organisms, breaking down the original materials into a usable form. Compost has many benefits for soil. It can feed plants, stimulate beneficial microbes, improve soil structure and help the soil retain nutrients, water and warmth.

This guide describes how producers of recycled organic products can ensure that the composts they supply meet the requirements of food safety programs such as Freshcare.

Summer cover crops

September 2016
Summer cover crops

Match your main soil management aim to the southern Australian summer cover crops.

Nutrient element functions in vegetable crops 

July 2016
Nutrient element functions in vegetable crops 

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

July 2016
Taking soil samples

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.

Winter cover crops

July 2016
Winter cover crops

Match your main soil management aim to the southern Australian winter cover crops.

Silicon for crop health

June 2016
Silicon for crop health

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.

Carbon storage in vegetable soils

May 2016
Carbon storage in vegetable soils

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.

Erosion: how to protect your soil

April 2016
Erosion: how to protect your soil

A healthy topsoil is a great asset to have, as this layer of soil contains the highest concentration of organic matter, micro-organisms, nutrients and biological activity. Lost topsoil can’t be replaced in a human’s lifespan. Therefore erosion, probably the biggest culprit in the loss of topsoil, should be effectively managed.

This fact sheet provides essential information on managing soil erosion, including reducing the impact of wind and water. The easy to read publication also guides decision-making on managing your irrigation system, controlling run-off water, covering exposed soil areas, improving soil structure and increasing cohesion between soil particles.

Compost for Vegetable Growers: What is Compost?

September 2015
Compost for Vegetable Growers: What is Compost?

This is the first fact sheet in a series for vegetable growers. These sheets provide information about composting, compost products and how to best use them to suit your needs.

Compost for Vegetable Growers: Why Use Compost?

September 2015
Compost for Vegetable Growers: Why Use Compost?

This is the second fact sheet in a series for vegetable growers. These sheets provide information about composting, compost products and how to best use them to suit your needs.

Compost for Vegetable Growers: Getting Started

September 2015
Compost for Vegetable Growers: Getting Started

This is the third fact sheet in a series for vegetable growers. These sheets provide information about composting, compost products and how to best use them to suit your needs.

Compost for Vegetable Growers: Choosing a Supplier

September 2015
Compost for Vegetable Growers: Choosing a Supplier

This is the fourth fact sheet in a series for vegetable growers. These sheets provide information about composting, compost products and how to best use them to suit your needs.

Compost for Vegetable Growers: Using Compost

September 2015
Compost for Vegetable Growers: Using Compost

This is the fifth fact sheet in a series for vegetable growers. These sheets provide information about composting, compost products and how to best use them to suit your needs.

How to compost on farm

September 2015
How to compost on farm

This fact sheet developed by NSW Agriculture provides a good overview of composting, its benefits and how to create good compost.

Soil solution analysis

September 2015
Soil solution analysis

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.

Biofumigation

August 2015
Biofumigation

Biofumigation is the use of specialised cover crops, which are grown, mulched and incorporated into the soil prior to cropping. High biomass, especially roots, can provide the traditional benefits of green manure crops, and if done right, naturally occurring compounds from the biofumigant plants can suppress soil-borne pests, diseases and weeds.

Reduced till in vegetable production

May 2015
Reduced till in vegetable production

Reduced till is a system change that relies on keeping the soil in a healthy condition through the use of permanent beds, controlled traffic, cover cropping and crop rotations rather than frequent cultivation.

Quick guide to farm nitrogen

April 2015
Quick guide to farm nitrogen

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.