Organic fertilisers for crop nutrition
Creating Circular Economies On-farm (Manures Project)
Funding: This project is funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation
This two-year pilot project is led by Riverine Plains Inc, with partner FAR Australia.
Riverine Plains will complete the extension component of the project while FAR Australia will complete the research component.
The opportunity for the demonstration and validation of the value of biosolids and/or organic fertilisers (organic amendments) as a source of crop nutrition was raised as a priority area of interest at a Riverine Plains Research Advisory Committee and National Grower Network (NGN) meeting in North East Victoria.
The development of this project coincides with an extreme rise in global fertiliser prices, which has prompted grain growers to consider pulses as a means of improving soil fertility. However, it is often overlooked that nitrogen fixation provides most of the nitrogen demand of the grain legume crop (assuming adequate rhizobial function) at high yields, and a large part of this fixed nitrogen is exported in grain. This can affect the pulse crop’s potential to restore fertility and may not be enough to sustain higher-yielding wheat crops the following season.
There is an abundance of organic amendment options in North East Victoria, due to the proximity of feedlots and other intensive livestock operations, and there is local interest in using these by-products to supply nutrients for grain production systems and to improve soil conditions that may constrain yield (creating a circular economy).
A replicated project trial site was established at Bundalong during 2022 to evaluate whether the benefits of nitrogen fixation by legume crops can be amplified with added organic amendments and if this can then buffer the farm business from high synthetic fertiliser inputs.
This project will specifically evaluate the value of faba bean stubble (from a crop grown in 2021 which yielded over 5t/ha), with and without organic manures, in restoring fertility and increasing yield in the following wheat crop.
The trial will use a local feedlot manure source and evaluate it at three different application rates (2.5, 5 and 10t/ha) for its effect on the following first wheat crop.
The project will also assess the impact of two different application timings of nitrogen on the faba bean crop and in the subsequent wheat crop.
Measurements taken as part of the project include soil nutrient analysis, along with visual, dry matter, yield and quality assessments.
For further information, please contact Dr Sara Hely at firstname.lastname@example.org