Agronomic Insights

Stay on track with petiole and leaf tests

Bede O'Mara - Technical Agronomist on 21/11/2016

Leaf and petiole sampling is a vital part of any comprehensive fertiliser program for cotton, helping growers to maintain crop yield potential at its peak.

Soil Sampling in Spring

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 08/11/2016

Why not get a head start on fertiliser programs for your grazier customers by initiating some soil testing this spring?

Fertiliser rate review for summer crops

Bede O'Mara - Technical Agronomist on 03/11/2016

A fertiliser rate review for summer grain crops has identified the optimal rates of nitrogen and phosphorus for most situations.

Make grain testing a priority this harvest

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 24/10/2016

Grain testing has been available from Nutrient Advantage Laboratory Services for a couple of years now and is becoming increasingly popular with agronomists looking to be more precise with nutrient budgeting.

Better dryland cotton yields with phosphorus

Bede O'Mara - Technical Agronomist on 21/10/2016

Dryland cotton growers may be missing out on yield if they plant without phosphorus fertiliser. Applying some fertiliser phosphorus increased dryland cotton yields by as much as 20% in last year’s trial at ‘Colonsay’ on the Darling Downs.

Gum boots on and plant tissue sample pastures

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 07/10/2016

Spring can be a hectic time of year and this often means some beneficial agronomy activities may be dropped in the rush. But this year, while we wait for paddocks to dry out, there is a window of opportunity to get on farm and take some leaf tissue samples. Then, when the paddocks dry out and farmers are busy cutting silage and hay, you’ll be one step ahead, ready to help with some recommendations that will help maximise feed growth for the rest of spring.

Nutrition focus yields more macadamia nuts

on 09/09/2016

One of Australia’s top producing macadamia farms, Hinkler Park Plantation, is taking a new approach to crop nutrition with a combination of organic matter and high quality nitrogen fertiliser blends. The results speak for themselves.

More potential for increased revenue with split application of nitrogen using EASY N

on 29/06/2015

With promising new trial results released late last year, holding back a portion of nitrogen fertiliser for application at the out-of-hand stage is starting to gain traction among cane growers. Here are some of the questions we’ve been asked about this emerging practice - and our responses based on our experience with these issues:

Reading the tea leaves - what are the soil test numbers telling us?

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 31/03/2015

Interrogating soil test data can provide some useful insights into soil nutrition trends while also benchmarking soil fertility across individual paddocks and farms.

Dry plays havoc with summer crop emergence

Bede O'Mara - Technical Agronomist on 11/11/2014

There have been reports of patchy emergence and seedling damage in summer crops from the central and western Downs and parts of Northern New South Wales.

New grain test now available

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 06/11/2014

A new grain test is available this harvest to put a figure on nutrient removal and help refine fertiliser rates for next season.

Efficient nitrogen for dairy farms

IPF on 22/09/2014

Dairy farmers and advisers will soon have a nitrogen fertiliser decision tool that will help determine how much nitrogen to apply to pastures for maximum profitability.

Nitrous oxide research results

IPF on 22/09/2014

Around the country, nitrous oxide emissions continue to be closely watched at 20 automated field sites and in laboratory experiments as part of the National Agricultural Nitrous Oxide Research Program (NANORP).

More cane more gain

IPF on 19/09/2014

Data from these trials have resulted in a statistically significant predicted increase in sugar yield of 7.7% and predicted cane yield increase of 9.1%.

Forums question phosphorus efficiency

IPF on 26/08/2014

Graziers and grain growers may need to reconsider their phosphorus fertiliser use in consultation with their advisers, according to the latest research presented at the Agronomy Community forums in Hamilton and Wagga Wagga in July.

Nitrogen update at Agronomy Community forums

IPF on 26/08/2014

Improving the efficiency and accuracy of nitrogen applications in crops and pastures continues to be a key theme for agronomists.

Nutrition for establishing and maintaining lucerne stands

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 26/08/2014

Lucerne is a terrific plant to have in pasture systems and good nutrition advice can help growers establish a strong crop and optimise production.

Ingredients for productive crops and pastures

Incitec Pivot Fertilisers on 21/08/2014

Australian agronomists were transported to another land when they attended Incitec Pivot Fertilisers’ Agronomy Community forums at Hamilton and Wagga Wagga this July.

Liquid efficiency at topdress time

Incitec Pivot Fertilisers on 14/07/2014

Switching to liquid nitrogen fertilisers for topdress applications could improve application accuracy and efficiency for grain growers, according to visiting Western Australian farmer and agronomy adviser, Erin Cahill.

Choosing the right pre-plant fertiliser for cotton

Bede O'Mara - Technical Agronomist on 30/06/2014

Cotton agronomists can choose from a wide variety of pre-plant fertilisers and blends to supply the nutrients needed for the coming crop.

Fertcare Carbon Farming Extension Project - update

Jeff Kraak - Fertilizer Australia on 24/06/2014

The concept of Carbon Farming, using agricultural practices to either reduce greenhouse gas emissions or store carbon in soil and plants has the potential to add value to the agricultural sector.

Assessing crop nitrogen needs for the balance of the 2014 season

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 13/06/2014

As the busy winter crop sowing season winds down on the back of one of the best autumn breaks in the south for several years, it is again time to assess crop nitrogen requirements for the balance of the season.

Lock in a strong start with Granulock Z

Bede O'Mara - Technical Agronomist on 12/06/2014

As growers begin to consider pre-plant and starter fertiliser plans for their sorghum, maize and other summer crops, it is worth remembering why Granulock Z so often ends up in the recommendation.

Balanced nutrition yields benefits

Rob Norton - International Plant Nutrition Institute on 04/06/2014

Fertilisers can be used efficiently if the right balance is struck between nitrogen and phosphorus.

Manganese toxicity in canola

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 27/05/2014

Above average soil temperatures over the past couple of weeks have set up the conditions for manganese toxicity in canola crops.

Cotton trials in the Burdekin look promising

CSIRO on 22/05/2014

A CSIRO investigation into the viability of growing cotton in the Burdekin region has recorded significant yield results for ENTEC fertilisers in its trial program in 2013.

ENTEC works for Gympie dairy farmers

Incitec Pivot Fertilisers on 22/05/2014

Brian Burkhardt at Landmark Gympie has some dairy farmer customers who dabble in using ENTEC Urea.

Give crops a good start

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 22/05/2014

An annual application of starter phosphorus can make a big difference at harvest, according to the latest trial results from southern New South Wales.

Consider tissue testing this season

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 09/05/2014

Graziers are being encouraged to tissue test their pastures to check that micronutrient levels are adequate for healthy pasture growth and healthy stock.

Strategies for early pre-plant nitrogen

Bede O’Mara - Technical Agronomist on 05/05/2014

BIG N is an ideal choice for early pre-plant nitrogen applications in paddocks set aside for cotton and summer crops.

Analysis from trials shows value of nitrogen

Charlie Walker - Technical and Development Manager on 30/04/2014

The results from seven fertiliser trials conducted in wheat last year in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales indicate a positive correlation between nitrogen application rates and net returns.

Agronomy Community forum promotes sustainable cropping

on 14/04/2014

Researchers and agronomists committed to excellence in plant nutrition and a future of sustainable cropping met in Townsville for the Agronomy Community Forum in March.

Moving forward after the frosts of 2013

Jim Laycock & Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 24/03/2014

Significant frost events last season contributed to major economic losses for grain growers in many winter cropping regions.

Minimising nitrogen losses in pasture systems

Lee Manhenett - Technical Agronomist on 21/03/2014

Nitrogen is a dynamic nutrient, and while it is an extremely important tool in pasture productivity, there are numerous loss mechanisms which require careful management.

Crops need early nitrogen for best results

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 20/03/2014

The role of nitrogen in winter crop production is well understood by grain growers.

Combat crown rot with early zinc

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 19/03/2014

Grain growers with cereal crops infected by crown rot last year are being encouraged to choose a starter fertiliser with zinc this season.

Managing nitrogen levels for yield and protein

Craig Farlow - Research and Development Coordinator on 19/03/2014

In recent years, South Australian grain growers have produced some of the largest grain crops in the state’s history.

Achieve great granule distribution with SuPerfect

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 23/12/2013

Lower analysis pasture fertilisers, like SuPerfect, need to be applied at nearly the twice the rate of higher analysis fertilisers to apply a similar amount of phosphorus to the paddock.

Improve cotton yield potential by water running nitrogen

Bede O'mara - Technical Agronomist on 23/12/2013

Cotton growers can improve the yield potential of this season’s crops by paying close attention to post-emergent nitrogen applications.

Pasture roadshow focuses on balanced nutrition

Lee Menhenett - Agronomy Solutions on 23/12/2013

Farmers and graziers are invited to attend one of a series of free pasture nutrition information sessions this summer, focusing on balanced nutrition.

Quality essential for even spreading

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 23/12/2013

Although thousands of tonnes of fertilisers are spread in Australia every year, there isn’t always uniform distribution of nutrients in these paddocks.

Changes in soil phosphorus availability and potential phosphorus loss following cessation of phosphorus fertiliser inputs

R.J Dodd, R.W McDowell, L.M. Condron on 31/10/2013

ABSTRACT: Long-term application of phosphorus (P) fertilisers to agricultural soils can lead to in the accumulation of P in soil. Determining the rate of decline in soil P following the cessation of P fertiliser inputs is critical to evaluating the potential for reducing P loss to surface waters.

Fertcare carbon farming extension project

Jeff Kraak - Fertilizer Australia on 31/10/2013

The vision for the Fertcare Carbon Farming Extension Project is that fertilizer industry sales and advisory staff in providing soil management, plant nutrition and fertilizer advice to farmers, issue guidance which not only drives productivity, profitability and increased nutrient use efficiency, but also integrates relevant considerations on greenhouse gas (GHG) management and storage of carbon into their recommendations.

How important is water soluble phosphorus?

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 30/10/2013

Graziers are often interested in the opportunities for new phosphorus fertilisers, manures and other alternative sources of nutrition.

Liquid nutrition makes sense in North Queensland crops

Rob Dwyer - Technical Agronomist on 30/10/2013

EASY N® liquid nitrogen fertiliser can give growers greater flexibility and control over nitrogen management in a whole host of crops including the likes of bananas, maize and potatoes.

Nitrogen goes green this spring

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 30/10/2013

Springtime nitrogen applications are turning green this year, with the release of Green Urea NVTM from Incitec Pivot Fertilisers.

Planning for quality hay and silage production

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 30/10/2013

Hay and silage making is a great tool for graziers to conserve fodder from times of excessive pasture production for use when there are pasture shortages.

Grazing high quality pastures

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 17/09/2013

Money spent on fertiliser can ultimately increase profitability in the grazing industry, according to a long-term trial conducted by the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

Make the nitrogen switch in your cane and bananas this season

Rob Dwyer - Technical Agronomist on 17/09/2013

A simple change to the form of nitrogen used in cane and banana crops could make a significant difference to your fertiliser program.


Bede O'Mara - Technical Agronomist on 17/09/2013

There are two commonly used potassium fertilisers suitable for pre–plant application in cotton - Muriate of Potash and Sulphate of Potash.

Residual imapct of last year's unused nitrogen fertiliser

Colin McMaster- NSW DPI on 17/09/2013

The 2012 season in central NSW began with a full profile of soil water following the wet summer, providing confidence to growers of high yield potential.

Serve up a potassium spray to satisfy cotton

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 17/09/2013

Sometimes adequate soil potassium levels are not enough to satisfy the needs of a growing cotton crop, particularly at flowering.

Spring into topdressing

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 17/09/2013

Grain growers are continuing to topdress with nitrogen this season and may still be spreading at the end of September if conditions remain favourable.

Stabilised nitrogen shows potential in vegetables

Dr Ian Porter - Vic DPI on 17/09/2013

Switching to stabilised fertilisers could be a win win situation for vegetable growers and the environment.

Setting up summer crops for success

Bede O'Mara - Technical Agronomist on 16/09/2013

Preparations for planting cotton, sorghum and other summer crops are now under way across the country, with growers starting their pre-planting fertiliser programs to set up their crops for success.

Forums promote science in agriculture

Ben Wild - Incitec Pivot Fertilisers on 22/08/2013

Agronomists welcomed the opportunity to discover the latest in plant nutrition research at a series of forums held across eastern Australia recently.

Managing nutrition for high yielding canola

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 08/08/2013

Achieving a high yielding canola crop might start with choosing the latest in hybrid canola varieties, but it doesn’t stop there!

A guide to nitrogen topdress decisions

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 08/08/2013

Now that many areas of southern Australia have received a seasonal break, although a little late, there is the opportunity to reassess nitrogen requirements for the balance of the season.

Choose plant available sulphur

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 08/08/2013

Soil sulphur levels can fall in pasture systems for many reasons, including the use of high analysis (low sulphur)fertilisers, missed applications in drought years or wet conditions.

Who can grow pasture this winter?

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 08/08/2013

While it is not entirely true to say that ‘anybody can grow grass in the spring’, the bigger challenge for most graziers is producing enough feed for their stock in winter.

Take care with pre-plant nitrogen

Bede O'Mara - Technical Agronomist on 08/08/2013

Pre-plant nitrogen can be an excellent way to start the season for cotton and summer crops.

Fertiliser improves soil health

Rob Norton - IPNI on 15/05/2013

Grain growers can be confident that their efforts to improve crop productivity and maximise yields are not jeopardising their chances to improve soil health, according to the results of a recent review.

Fertcare attracts government investment

Jeff Kraak - Fertcare on 15/05/2013

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig announced in early April that Fertcare was one of 24 successful applicants in the Carbon Farming Futures Extension and Outreach Program.

Tried and true fertiliser for superior pasture nutrition

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 15/05/2013

SuPerfect® is a tried and true fertiliser supplying balanced nutrition to legume-based pasture systems. The analysis of 8.8% phosphorus, 11% sulphate sulphur and 18% calcium contained in SuPerfect is designed to ensure adequate phosphorus as well as sulphate sulphur is supplied to pastures.

Placement of fertiliser with the seed

Bede O'Mara - Technical Agronomist on 15/05/2013

Fertilisers placed with the seed may cause damage during germination, root or shoot growth. Usually, growers see delayed or staggered emergence, rather than complete failure.

Break cropping and brown manures

Tony Swan, Laura Watson, Mark Peoples & James Hunt on 15/04/2013

Most grain-growers recognise that they should include broadleaf species in their cropping program to reduce disease incidence for cereals and to improve soil nitrogen (N) fertility.

Extra phosphorus helps wheat after canola

Lee Menhenett on 15/04/2013

New research from Incitec Pivot Fertilisers’ field trial program in Victoria is showing the importance of applying enough phosphorus to crops, particularly where wheat follows canola.

Improving plant uptake of soil phosphorus

Tony Swan, Laura Watson, Mark Peoples & James Hunt on 15/04/2013

Long-term use of fertiliser in southern Australia has generally raised the organic and inorganic phosphorus (P) status of soils, although much of this P is not readily available for plant uptake.

Pasture trials show potential for Green Urea

Charlie Walker on 15/04/2013

Incitec Pivot Fertilisers conducted several trials comparing urea with Green Urea fertiliser on dairy pastures in Victoria in 2009 and 2010.

Phosphorus Efficiency Trial

Lee Menhenett, Charlie Walker & Craig Farlow on 15/04/2013

Evaluate wheat response to phosphorus (P) rate, product and tactical P applications.

Focus on Calcium

Dr Rob Norton - IPNI on 05/03/2013

Calcium (Ca) is an essential plant nutrient required by animals and plants in relatively large amounts for healthy growth. In addition to its role as one of the macronutrients in plant nutrition, sufficient Ca has a role in maintaining soil physical properties, and in reclaiming sodic soils.

Soil Phosphorus Availability

Philip Hoult - Agronomy Solutions on 05/03/2013

Most plants take up the bulk of their phosphorus requirement early in their life, in the seedling stage of annuals and early regrowth of perennials. While phosphorus is not mobile in soils, it is one of the more mobile nutrients in plants.

Perfect Pulses

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 05/03/2013

Pulses are gaining favour in many cropping rotations to provide a boost to soil nitrogen levels and give crops a disease break.

Seed bed utilisation

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 18/02/2013

The maximum application rate of fertiliser in the seed furrow is primarily influenced by the susceptibility of the crop species to ammonia and osmotic effects of the fertiliser, application equipment and soil conditions at planting and post planting.

Are you going to lose urea this season?

Lee Menhenett - Technical Agronomist on 12/02/2013

The loss of Nitrogen from Urea, through the process of volatilisation is high. Volatilisation is the process where gaseous ammonia is lost from urea as it attracts moisture on the soil surface. A number of factors contribute to this process. Volatilisation losses can be minimised by timing urea applications and by using a fertiliser with a urease inhibitor.

Soil Nitrogen reserves decline

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 07/02/2013

There seems to be a trend in falling soil nitrogen and organic carbon levels across the cropping regions of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. This overview of soil reserves is based on soil tests conducted by Nutrient Advantage Laboratory Services.

Make soil testing the next stop

Phil Hoult - Agronomy Solutions on 31/01/2013

Growers are being encouraged to make soil testing their next priority, with the grain harvest now complete. And it seems advisers have heeded this advice with a large increase in soil samples being received at the Nutrient Advantage laboratory in Werribee.

A timely reminder about potassium

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 30/01/2013

Potassium (K) is a major plant nutrient required by plants in similar quantities as nitrogen, and in larger amounts than phosphorus.

A timely reminder about potassium

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 30/01/2013

Potassium (K) is a major plant nutrient required by plants in similar quantities as nitrogen, and in larger amounts than phosphorus.

Key nitrogen loss pathways and strategies to minimise losses

Charlie Walker - Technical and Development Manager on 30/01/2013

There is some confusion about the loss mechanisms for nitrogen from cropping systems and strategies for minimising these losses.

Managing phosphorus for wheat based on rotations

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 30/01/2013

How important is the previous rotation in determining the optimum rate of phosphorus for wheat?

A timely reminder about potassium

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 30/01/2013

Potassium (K) is a major plant nutrient required by plants in similar quantities as nitrogen, and in larger amounts than phosphorus.

Field days look at fertiliser efficiency research

Incitec Pivot Fertilisers on 29/01/2013

What happens to fertiliser once it is applied in the paddock and how much of it is converted to pasture?

'Best Bet' fertiliser rates revealed

Charlie Walker - Technical & Development Manager on 13/12/2012

An in-depth analysis of a long-term fertiliser experiment at Dahlen, near Horsham, has revealed which nitrogen and phosphorus rates have performed best over the past 15 years.

Accu-Spread Testing Shows Superphosphate Particle Size Impacts on Spreading Bout Width

Wes Wheelhouse - AFSA on 10/10/2012

Unfortunately many agronomists have observed the effects of uneven fertiliser application resulting in areas of poor crop / pasture growth where nutrients have been under applied and areas of very strong growth where fertiliser has been over applied in a regular pattern across a field.

Placement with pre planting nitrogen

Jim Laycock - Technical Agronomist on 09/10/2012

Some growers have been forced to replant significant areas of cotton because of fertiliser burn on the seedling roots, after applying either BIG N® or urea.

Soil Carbon - Black gold or just a lot of hot air?

Rohan Davies - Technical Agronomist on 07/09/2012

Soil carbon refers to the total carbon found in soil and it includes both inorganic and organic forms. The following discussion is focused on organic forms because, unlike inorganic forms, the organic amount can be strongly influenced by land management.

Green Urea to reduce ammonia loss in pastures

Helen Suter - The University of Melbourne on 06/09/2012

The breakdown of urea by a process known as hydrolysis leads to production of ammonia (NH3, a gas) or ammonium (NH4+), a plant nutrient. When urea is topdressed, any NH3 that is produced can be blown away from the site and this leads to poor use of applied nitrogen (N). One way of minimising the risk of NH3 loss is to apply a urease inhibitor with your urea.