Alternative fertilizers field research project

This producer-initiated field-research project was a collaboration between Binalong Landcare, NSW Department of Primary Industries and South East Local Land Services. With the fluctuating cost of conventional fertilizers and concerns around environmental and long-term sustainability, producers were interested in comparing the performance of alternative fertilizers. They were particularly interested in knowing whether alternative fertilisers could in fact boost production in a cost effective way. Many alternative fertilizer products are marketed using anecdotal claims around their effectiveness so this project set out to validate product performance using a scientific approach. All products trialled were compared to both a nil control and single superphosphate treatment.

One of the key drivers of pasture growth from the fertilizers trialled is phosphorus. This response is in line with other pasture field research trials. The results have highlighted that the relative cost effectiveness of the products trialled have largely been determined by the plant availability of the phosphorus in each product as well as their pattern/frequency of application.

Some 140 landholders descended on the Bookham Hall on 1 September 2015 to hear the latest research on the use of Alternative Fertilizers for pasture and livestock production. The seminar saw the showcasing of six years of trial results from the project at Binalong and Bookham.

The seminar also featured presentations summarising the importance of phosphorus in running productive grazing systems as well as a foundation for determining the suitability of a range of alternative fertilizer/soil treatments for their own situation.

View videos of the presentations:

Native Pasture and Alternative Fertilizer Project - Summary of 6 years pasture, soil and economic results

Fiona Leech, South East Local Land Services, Yass

Livestock production resulting from the use of a range of alternative and conventional fertilizers

Phil Graham, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Yass

Phosphorus cycling in pasture grazing systems and importance of soil microbiology

Dr Alan Richardson, Soil Biologist, CSIRO

Key messages resulting from five alternative fertilizer field research projects in NSW

Dr Lewis Kahn, Agricultural Information and Monitoring Services, Armidale

Common questions around fertilizer use on pastures

Fiona Leech, South East Local Land Services, Yass

Copies of handouts provided at the seminar may also be obtained from:

Fiona Leech
Senior Land Services Officer (Mixed Farming Systems)
South East Local Land Services
0427 201 805

This project is supported through funding from NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Department of Environment and Heritage, former Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority (MCMA), the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, Woolworths, South East Local Land Services, Riverina Local Land Services, Meat & Livestock Australia, Sibelco Australia and Sheep Connect NSW.