The project aims to derive the results in soil health improvement and grain yield response by using two different forms of Nitrogen (N), i.e., Organic N (Leguminous crops + Crop Rotation) and Synthetic N (Urea). Upon its completion, the project will also aim to deliver the cost-benefit analysis of the two different strategies over the period of two years.
Because of N-mining by continuous cropping, the current application rate of N-fertiliser to dryland crops, ~45 kg N/ha, will need to double in about five decades if yields are to be maintained and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) is not improved. If the current value of NUE (44%) is not improved, the cost of inefficient fertiliser use will increase in proportion to the amount applied and will increase relatively more than the total cost of crop production, even if the per-unit price of fertiliser does not increase.
Growers in the Central West of NSW have identified a high level of interest in comparing bagged N to grown N and the impact it could have on yield, gross margins and soil health. This project will provide locally relevant information that supports local needs and help farmers participate and build confidence to try new practices on their properties, with clear environmental and economic benefits.
This project is a partnership between University of Southern Queensland, University of New England, and Central West Farming Systems.