Best Practise in Fertiliser Use

To provide the food our growing global population demands, farmers are seeking to increase production on their land while minimising environmental impacts. We support this effort by working with researchers who seek to grow more food using best management soil practices and new technologies such as controlled-release fertilisers.

 Fertilisers are essential to productive farming, allowing farmers to grow more food on a decreased area of arable land. High yields are necessary to support the world’s growing population. To optimise food and fibre production per unit of nutrient input and return on investment, attention must be paid to how, when and where fertilisers are applied. It is also important that fertilisers are applied at appropriate rates. Too little, and crop and pasture yields may be sacrificed and produce quality affected. Too much, and the nutrients applied in excess of crop demands may be lost, either to the atmosphere or to waterways. Nutrient enrichment of waterways may stimulate additional weed and algal growth.
 To optimise production per unit of nutrient input, it is important that fertilisers are used at appropriate rates and in a responsible manner. To support this, our analytical laboratory (Nutrient Advantage) offers specialist soil, plant and water testing to advisors and farmers. Our Nutrient Advantage Laboratory Service is NATA and ASPAC accredited, and operates in accordance with the international standard ISO/IEC 17025. Testing, together with professional advice from our team of agronomists and our computerised decision-support system, Nutrient Advantage Advice, provides the diagnostic data, best practice information and advice farmers need to choose the right fertilisers and apply them correctly, in order to optimise outcomes from the use of nutrients.

Our Nutrient Advantage Advice system is audited by Fertilizer Australia every two years to ensure it complies with their fertiliser management best practice recommendations.

This year our fertiliser business ran a series of Agronomy Community Forums across regional Australia. Approximately 100 agronomists (plant and soil advisers) attended the forums to update their knowledge, share ideas and consider the truths and myths associated with the use of fertilisers. Guest speakers included leading agronomists, scientists, researchers and fertiliser advisers.

Our fertilisers business also hosted 10 Agronomy in Practice courses throughout the year across Eastern Australia, training over 80 agronomists.

 

The Agronomy in Practice course focuses on the practical aspects of making credible fertiliser recommendations to farmers, whether they’re involved in cropping, pasture, summer crops, sugar cane or horticulture. The course is aimed at training the next generation of agronomists as well as current advisers who want to enhance their skills in soil and plant nutrition. This year’s participants include a cross-section of commercial and private agronomists, and government extension agents.  Nutrient Advantage Advice is Incitec Pivot Fertilisers’ Fertcare accredited decision support software system. Fertcare is amongst the leading programs addressing the issue of expanding food production to feed and clothe a growing global community through judicial use of fertiliser, while limiting the potential for off-site nutrient impacts such as eutrophication of waterways. We offer Nutrient Advantage Training, which consists of two courses: the Agronomy in Practice course, and the Nutrient Advantage Advice Software Training Course. The program has been developed to equip people providing fertiliser services and nutrient advice to farmers with quality assurance to a set of national standards. This year over 20 staff received Fertcare A training.