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Fertilising for yield and quality in sown grass pastures and forage crops

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Lawrence, D., Buck, S. R. and Johnson, B. (2014) Fertilising for yield and quality in sown grass pastures and forage crops. Project Report. Meat & Livestock Australia Limited.

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Sown pasture rundown and declining soil fertility for forage crops are too serious to ignore with losses in beef production of up to 50% across Queensland. The feasibility of using strategic applications of nitrogen (N) fertiliser to address these losses was assessed by analysing a series of scenarios using data drawn from published studies, local fertiliser trials and expert opinion. While N fertilser can dramatically increase productivity (growth, feed quality and beef production gains of over 200% in some scenarios), the estimated economic benefits, derived from paddock level enterprise budgets for a fattening operation, were much more modest. In the best-performing sown grass scenarios, average gross margins were doubled or tripled at the assumed fertiliser response rates, and internal rates of return of up to 11% were achieved. Using fertiliser on forage sorghum or oats was a much less attractive option and, under the paddock level analysis and assumptions used, forages struggled to be profitable even on fertile sites with no fertiliser input. The economics of nitrogen fertilising on grass pasture were sensitive to the assumed response rates in both pasture growth and liveweight gain. Consequently, targeted research is proposed to re-assess the responses used in this analysis, which are largely based on research 25-40 years ago when soils were generally more fertile and pastures less rundown.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:Final report
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Improvement, reclamation, fertilisation, irrigation etc., of lands (Melioration)
Plant culture > Field crops > Forage crops. Feed crops
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Live Archive:16 Feb 2016 06:46
Last Modified:01 Dec 2022 00:55

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