BeefCheque Fertiliser Trial

Year of study:

1996-7

Lead organisation & collaborators:

Department of Natural Resources and Environment

Leo Hamilton Rural Consulting

Pivot Agriculture

 

Contact:

DNRE, Bill Fuller

T: 5152 0600

or

Leo Hamilton Rural consulting

T: 5156 6862

Project details

 

Objectives:

Perform fertilizer trials with phosphorous and potassium) fertilisers and assess pasture and animal production responses. Investigate the role of calcium and boron deficiencies in sub clover seed set.

Hypotheses:

Phosphorus and potassium fertilizer treatment improves clover content, and that calcium and boron deficiencies reduce sub clover seed set.

Basis of trial:

Nutrient availability affects clover growth. This trial seeks to investigate whether calcium and boron deficiencies impacts sub clover seed sets.

Trial Site Details:

Trials were established on 14 focus farms in autumn 1997 and 1 in spring 1996. Monthly soil inspections and soil analysis were undertaken. (Results reported on in 2008)

All areas of Gippsland recorded a much drier year than normal. Most locations received 2/3 average rainfall

Location Soil type 1997 Rainfall (mm) Av. Rainfall (mm)
Bairnsdale Loam (Grey) 414 650
Buchan Loam(Grey) 487 800
Cann River Loam(Grey) 678 920
Ensay Loam(Grey) 448 600
Fish Creek Loam (Grey) 692 980
Flynn Loam (Grey) 550 680
Kongwak Loam (Grey)/Loam (Black) 736 935
Lang Lang Loam (Grey) 534 860
Maffra Loam (Brown) 370 610
Orbost Loam (Grey) 643 800
Stratford Loam (Brown) 404 575
Tarwin Lower Loam (Grey) 651 950
Trafalgar Loam (Grey) 628 99
Warragul Loam (Grey) 740 1130
Yarram Loam (Grey) 496 735

 

Trial Design Details

An area is divided into 4 one hectare paddocks using electric fencing. Each area was limed and received the trace element molybdenum.

Because of the mobility of potassium under grazing, animals were rotated.

Summary of key messages/findings of trial:

Significant responses to nutrients occurred (at 10 sites). Phosphorous was the main limiting nutrient.

No animal responses to treatments occurred in the first year of the grazing trials.

Stock rotated after trial plots were reduced to 1200 kg DM / hectare.

Livestock Body weights recorded (not specified in report)

Crop production measure in kg DM / day / hectare. Total spring production also recorded (Tonnes DM / hectare)Graphical harvest yields are provided in the technical report

Treatment Results

Variation in Soil C with time and management influence:

The following measurements are provided in the report.

Location Organic carbon
Bairnsdale 2.4%
Buchan 3.2%
Cann River 2.7%
Ensay 1.4%
Fish Creek 7.8%
Flynn 3.2%
Kongwak 9.6%/11%
Lang Lang 3.4%
Maffra 2.6%
Orbost 2.7%
Stratford 2.3%
Tarwin Lower 4.2%
Trafalgar 2.9%
Warragul 4.6%
Yarram 2.4%

Variations in soil pH with time and management influence:

The following measurements are provided in the report.

Location pH (CaCl2)
Bairnsdale 5.3
Buchan 4.9
Cann River 5.3
Ensay 4.4
Fish Creek 3.9
Flynn 4.7
Kongwak 4.4/4.3
Lang Lang 4.7
Maffra 5.2
Orbost 4.3
Stratford 4.8
Tarwin Lower 4.2
Trafalgar 4.7
Warragul 4.8
Yarram 4.8

Other soils treatments:

Significant responses to nutrients occurred (at 10 sites). Phosphorous was the main limiting nutrient.

No animal responses to treatments occurred in the first year of the grazing trials.

Variation in productivity/profitability with time and management influence:

Spring production measurements taken, but no baseline established therefore cannot draw a conclusion.

Methods:

Treatments

Location Grazing (Live weight) Test Strips
Bairnsdale ü
Buchan ü
Cann River
Ensay ü
Fish Creek ü
Flynn ü
Kongwak ü ü
Lang Lang ü
Maffra ü ü
Orbost ü
Stratford ü
Tarwin Lower ü
Trafalgar ü
Warragul ü ü
Yarram ü

 

Soil analysis were taken pre-fertilizer application, nutrients applied and monthly inspections made by the relevant farmer group to assess responses

At each site on separate paddocks a high and low fertilizer treatment was applied to enable animal production comparisons to be made. Records of livestock movement, livestock body weights, pasture growth and pasture composition were taken to provide the comparison.

Soil Sampling:

Soil testing before treatments applied and annually before topdressing.

Fifteen Plate meter readings taken per treatment (twelve calibration cuts taken to allow for good correlation to the metre readings)

  • pH (CaCl2)
  • P (Olsen)
  • K (Colwell)
  • S (KCL)

Animal Productivity Measures

Stock rotated after trial plots were reduced to 1200 kg DM / hectare.

Livestock Body weights recorded (not specified in report)

Crop production measure in kg DM / day / hectare. Total spring production also recorded (Tonnes DM / hectare)

Location

Spring Production (T DM/ha)

250kg/a super potash

500kg/a super potash

None

P + other

Bairnsdale

None applied

Buchan

Significant response recorded to phosphorus when used with Mo

Cann River

No measurements

Ensay

No measurements

Fish Creek

4.01

4.06 (P45 + K + S +traces)

Flynn

Responses to phosphorus when used with K and Mg

Kongwak (New paddock)

8.31

8.82

2.07

1.75 (P30 + K84)

Kongwak (Crop paddock)

7.96

10.93

Lang Lang

6.09

6.02 (P45 + K + S + traces)

Maffra

No responses

Responses for P+S and P+S+K+Mb

Orbost

.34

0.41 (N)

0.82 (N +K)

0.213 (P 0.05)

Stratford

No significant response to P

Tarwin Lower

Responses to superphosphate or Prolong

Trafalgar

Responses to superphosphate or Prolong

Warragul (Paddock 27)

4.26

4.12

Responses to superphosphate or Prolong

Warragul (Paddock 28)

7.4

7.2

Yarram

Responses to superphosphate or Prolong or triple super

Graphical harvest yields are provided in the technical report

Botanical composition measurements taken in August annually

Estimates of herbage consumption made and recorded after stock removed.

 

Reportage:

How results have been reported:

Technical Report

How can a copy of any relevant reports be obtained:

Stuart White, DPI

Leo Hamilton

Level of review of results:

Internal Review

Next steps

Specific trial recommendations are made with regard to calibration of equipment and site selection.

Specific trial recommendations include:

  • Taking care when harvesting sites with high fertility (record visual responses)
  • Record clover content of each treatment
  • Record herbage magnesium levels
  • Top dress all sites before autumn

Grazing trials should record:

  • Botanical compositions (Winter and Spring)
  • Pasture availability before and after grazing
  • Animal live weights (Spring)
  • Stocking rates and grazing rotation length

Project Partners