Improving broadacre cropping through phosphorus management

The economic prospects of broadacre cropping indicate a need for more sustainable approaches to maintaining land fertility. The depletion of native fertility is already resulting in restrictions to land use options in more marginal areas, rendering cropping no longer viable and limiting the productivity that can be derived from alternate land uses.

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences researchers started extensive field research investigating the role of subsoil P reserves in maintaining crop productivity in rain-fed cropping systems. This involved engaging with local and regional networks of growers and consultants to extend the results and identify new collaborators. Researchers visited grower properties across north-eastern Australia, which provided local case studies to aid the adoption of proposed practices.

This process contributed to the development of new fertiliser-use guidelines that have been adopted in regional areas and are now attracting national attention.