Improving the Efficiency of Nitrogen Application

Media Release: 22nd May, 2017, Word Count: 409

Nitrogen fertiliser is an expensive input and improving the efficiency of in-crop applications can save money and boost production. To help farmers maximise the response to applied nitrogen, local farming systems group Riverine Plains Inc is holding a drop-in Nitrogen Efficiency Field Day at Henty on Tuesday 6 June.

“When it comes to improving the efficiency of nitrogen fertiliser uptake in broadacre crops, one of the simplest things we can do is to ensure our spreading equipment is working as it is designed to” explains Riverine Plains Inc Extension Officer, Dr Cassandra Schefe.

“Many fertiliser spreaders distribute fertiliser unevenly, which can then lead to unevenness in crop growth, development and maturity.  Calibrating equipment helps achieve a more even fertiliser throw, which can then improve yield potential” said Cassandra.

To demonstrate calibration techniques, Russell Nichol, a Fertcare registered calibration specialist, will calibrate 4 machines including a Donder CGSA series, an Amazone Profis 3600L, Amazone ZA-M 1501 3-point linkage and a Landaco TS10000 trailing spreader.

As he works, Russell will discuss his techniques so that farmers can use them on their own equipment.

Another way to improve efficiency is by timing fertiliser applications to avoid nitrogen losses.

“A proportion of applied nitrogen fertiliser can be lost to the atmosphere as nitrous oxide gas, particularly when conditions are extremely wet. These losses reduce the efficiency with which applied nitrogen can be used by the plant” says Michael Straight from FAR Australia.

“We have just finished a project looking at nitrous oxide emissions in cereal crops, and now have a better understanding of how nitrogen applications can be timed to improve plant nitrogen uptake efficiency, and will be presenting these findings on the day” said Michael.

The day will begin at 9:30am at Peter Campbell’s property “Avondale”, 452 Henty-Pleasant Hills Rd, Henty (Google Maps Reference 35°28’48.6″S 146°52’22.3″E). All are welcome and there is no cost to attend. Morning tea and lunch will be provided – please RSVP to assist with catering.

The day is being jointly held as part of the GRDC project Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubbles in the Riverine Plains region, as well as by the Management strategies for improved productivity and reduced nitrous oxides emissions project, supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Action on the Ground program.

For further information please visit or contact Riverine Plains Inc on 03 5744 1713 or


More Information or Interview:

Dr Cassandra Schefe, Extension Officer, Riverine Plains 03 5744 1713