Research & Trials

1. Exploring smart N management on Australian dairy farms – Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and Western Dairy Incorporated – (Current)

This research is testing the effectiveness of crop-sensing technology (Weedseeker®) in applying liquid N between the urine and dung patches on pastures in Tasmania and Western Australia. This project is investigating possible savings in Nitrogen applied of up to 30% per application – See Smart-N™ WeedSeeker® technology.


Key words: Western Australia, Tasmania, Smart N technology, liquid nitrogen, urine, dung

2. Effect of rate and method of application of lime on pasture production and soil pH for dryland ryegrass pasture – Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (Current)

This experiment is measuring yield response of dryland ryegrass pasture following different rates and methods (top-dressing vs. incorporation) of lime application. Pasture yield is measured at the 3-leaf stage. Soil pH is measured regularly. Early results have shown considerable changes in soil pH in some treatments, but no effect on pasture yield.

Contact: Martin Staines

Key words: Western Australia, lime, dryland ryegrass, pH

3. Determining critical plant test potassium values for dryland ryegrass pasture – Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (Current)

This experiment is carried out on a site with low soil K and is measuring the yield response of annual and Italian ryegrass after Fertiliser K is applied at 0, 10, 20, 40, 80, 160 or 320 kg/ha/year.

Contact: Martin Staines

Key words: Western Australia, critical potassium values, dryland ryegrass

4. Dairy Nitrogen for Greater Profit – Department of Primary Industries Victoria, Gardiner Foundation (Current)

This project aims to improve the agronomic and economic basis for nitrogen fertiliser decisions on dairy pastures. The project will develop improved tools for determining farm-specific production and profit responses to nitrogen fertiliser use and make these available through our partnership with industry. The project will make use of existing and new experimental data to develop improved predictions of pasture responses to particular nitrogen fertiliser applications in various situations.


Key words: National, nitrogen fertiliser, profitability

5. A long term evaluation of different types of organic and inorganic soil nutrient inputs on dairy pastures – Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Queensland (Current)

This project will compare the use of synthetic (inorganic) and organic based fertilisers on irrigated mixed dairy pastures and their effects on soil nutrient status, pasture quality and production, organic carbon levels, water holding capacity, overall feed conversion efficiency (FCE) and the cost benefit analysis. The demonstration will be used as a key focus of extension days, providing a point at which farmers can access management strategies.


Key words: Queensland, nitrogen, urea, compost, manure, kikuyu, ryegrass, feed conversion efficiency, economics

6. An integrated assessment of management practices for reducing nitrous oxide emission and improving nitrogen use efficiency for subtropical dairy systems – Queensland University of Technology (2012 – 2015)

This project will determine the fate of applied nitrogen fertiliser to a subtropical dairy production system at the paddock and farm scales and examine the effectiveness of methane, nitrous oxide and nitrogen loss mitigation strategies.


Key words: Queensland, nitrous oxide, nitrogen use efficiency

7. The effect of fertiliser nitrogen breakdown inhibitors and nitrogen rate on greenhouse gas emissions, nitrate leaching and nitrogen use efficiency in intensive dairy pasture systems in hot dry climates – NSW DPI (2012 – 2015)

This project will quantify the effect of fertiliser nitrogen breakdown inhibitors and nitrogen fertiliser rate on greenhouse gas emissions, nitrate leaching and nitrogen use efficiency.


Key words: New South Wales, nitrous oxide, nitrogen use efficiency

8. The use of inhibitors to improve nitrogen cycling and reduce nitrous oxide losses from intensively grazed pasture systems – DPI, Victoria (2012 – 2015)

This project will address both productivity and emission mitigation implications of inhibitor use in dairy systems in south eastern Australia. The project will evaluate the potential of nitrification inhibitors to reduce direct emissions from urine on pasture.


Key words: Victoria, nitrogen use efficiency, nitrification inhibitors, greenhouse gas emissions, urine

9. Validating the cost/benefits of improved fertiliser practices and quantifying nutrient loads and pathways from irrigated dairy pastures in the Wet Tropics and the Burnett-Mary regions (2011 – 2013)

The project will determine the cost/benefits of using urea treated with a nitrification inhibitor compared to using standard urea in terms of reduced nitrogen losses through leaching and runoff, and potential production efficiency gains.


Key words: Queensland, nitrogen, phosphorus, nutrient loss pathways, leaching, runoff, nitrification inhibitor

10. Enteric methane abatement strategies for ruminant production systems in south eastern Australia – Primary Industries Climate Challenge Centre (2010 – 2013)

Researchers evaluated the effect of various dietary supplements on enteric methane production in ruminants through a structured process of in vitro screening of various forage and dietary supplement options, followed by in vivo evaluation of the methane abatement and production impacts of feeding forages and supplements.


Key words: South East Australia, enteric methane

11. Enhancing Soil Health in the South East of South Australia (2009 – 2013)

This project is aimed at enhancing soil health by increasing the skills and knowledge of landholders to address soil degradation issues related to erosion, acidification and soil carbon content in identified high priority areas in the South East region. The project also provides funding for direct on-ground works to implement these changes – e.g. ‘Manuring tames subsoil


Key words: South Australia, acidity, erosion, soil carbon, soil health

12. Decreasing dairy farm greenhouse gas emissions and building soil C (2012 – 2015)

This project will demonstrate on-farm, the potential for composts to increase soil C levels, reduce N2O emissions through enhanced N use efficiency, and reduce reliance on external inputs to maintain production. It will work with farmers to convert effluent combined with spoiled hay/silage into compost and enable farmers to make better decisions on the use of soil amendments to improve and maintain the store carbon in the soil and reduce greenhouse emissions.

Conact: Declan McDonald

Key words: Victoria, greenhouse emissions, soil carbon, compost, N20, nitrogen use efficiency, effluent

13. Ammonia Volatilisation from Grazed Pastures – AgResearch Ltd. New Zealand (May 2012)

This report reviews the processes, measurement techniques, and modelling tools of N volatilisation from grazed pastures. There is a wide range of modelling tools available to simulate NH3 volatilisation. Several experimental efforts studying the volatilisation process and its implications for the N balance were reviewed. The report contains several recommendations for future experimental work.


Key words: National, ammonia volatilisation

14. Nitrogen fixation by legumes in Australian dairy pasture systems: review and prospect – Unkovich (May 2012)

The annual N2 fixation rates in Australian dairy pastures are generally low, due to low pasture legume content. With typical legume contents of grazed pastures less than 30% of total pasture biomass production, annual N2 fixation in herbage is of the order of only 50 kg ha-1 or less.


Key words: National, nitrogen fixation, legumes

15. A review of denitrification on Australian dairy farms – Weier & Grace (2012)

This review covers the understanding of N2 and N2O losses; describes current measurement techniques; discusses factors affecting the rate of denitrification; identifies practices associated with denitrification loss; and provides recommendations for future research.


Key words: National, denitrification

16. Nitrous Oxide Emissions Research – Primary Industries Climate Challenge Centre (2012)

Nitrous oxide research aims to improve our ability to measure nitrous oxide emissions from soils and develop our understanding of the processes by which direct and indirect nitrous oxide is produced. The abatement research primarily focuses on strategies that farmers can adopt now to reduce nitrogen loss while improving nitrogen use efficiency and productivity.


Key words: National, nitrous oxide, emissions, nitrogen loss, inhibitors

17. Coastal dairy NSW catchments (2010 – 2011)

Based in the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment this project aims to understand the risks of nutrient losses, improve the effectiveness of mitigation strategies and serve as a forum for communicating these issues to the NSW dairy industry and other stakeholders including the broader community.


Key words: New South Wales, nutrient losses

18. Greener Pastures : A profitable and sustainable use of Nitrogen in Dairy pasture systems (2005 – 2010)

Greener Pastures was an intensive farming systems project designed to help farmers make smarter use of nutrients, expecially nitrogen.


Key words: Western Australia, nitrogen, profitability, nitrogen losses, grazing management

19. Soils Alive! Understanding and Managing Soil Biology on Tasmanian Farms (2010)

The Tasmanian project ‘Soil Ecosystem Health Measures: An Interpretive Guide for Land Managers’ was developed in response to a need to understand the biological make-up of our soils, to establish some benchmarking data with regard to optimum populations of various micro- and macro-organisms, and to provide landholders with practical advice to better manage this resource. This book is the principal output from this project.


Key words: Tasmania, soil biology

20. Accounting for Nutrients on Australian Dairy Farms (2006 – 2010)

The ‘Accounting for Nutrients on Australian Dairy Farms’ project (A4N) was a major 4 year research and development initiative, which aims to develop a nationally agreed framework for nutrient accounting for N, P, K, S, Ca and Mg for the Australian dairy industry, which ran from 2006 to 2010.


Key words: National, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, calcium, magnesium, fertiliser tool, nutrient budgeting, nutrient losses, fertility targets, whole farm nutrient planning

21. Literature Review – Temporal and spatial variations in nitrogen and Phosphorus fluxes in dairy catchments – Rivers and Dougherty (2009)

This review explores the issues and mechanisms of nutrient fluxes in both the farm and catchment contexts summarises our understanding of temporal and spatial variations in nutrient fluxes in dairy catchments. The purpose of this review is to contribute to future research and on-farm activities.


Key words: National, nitrogen, phosphorus, nutrient fluxes, water quality, nutrient movement

22. Guidelines for the use of second pond dairy effluent for forage production on farm – Ward and Jacobs, DPI Warrnambool (2008)

Second pond effluent from dairy waste treatment systems is a valuable source of nutrients and water. Used correctly, dairy effluent can produce some very profitable increases in forage grown on-farm during the drier months of the year. What was often previously regarded as a waste product can now be used for irrigation and as a partial replacement for some bought in chemical fertilisers.


Key words: Victoria, effluent reuse, irrigation, effluent testing

23. Better Fertiliser Decisions (2003 – 2007)

This research provides comprehensive information to improve fertiliser decisions for grazing industries across Australia. The project compiled and interpreted results from pasture-fertiliser experiments and information on nutrient loss processes from all pastoral regions in Australia and developed pasture response relationships and critical soil test values for phosphorus, potassium and sulfur.


Key words: National, farm nutrient loss index, critical soil test values, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur

24. Life in the Soil – CSIRO (2007)

This 12-page report details research on the relationship between soil organisms and agricultural systems. Researchers explore the beneficial effects of soil organisms and their use as a measure of soil health.


Key words: National, soil health, soil organisms

25. Understanding Nitrogen Fertiliser Use in Pasture Base Dairy Systems

This research is investigating the relationship between plant available nitrogen and pasture yield to determine N response efficiency. A predictive N fertiliser response calculator is also being developed.


Key words: Tasmania, nitrogen fertiliser response calculator

26. Managing nutrients to improve dairy farm sustainability in Northern Tasmania (2012-2013)

This project is undertaking nutrient mapping and budgeting with 20 Northern Tasmanian dairy farmers, concentrating on Olsen P, Colwell K, Sulphate S and pH. The project is seeking to improve farmer awareness and willingness to undertake changes on their farm with regard to sustainable fertiliser use and is funded through DairyTas, NRM North and Caring for our Country initiative.


Key words: Tasmania, soil testing, nutrient budgets,nutrient maps

27. Environmental influences on optimum nitrogen fertiliser rates for temperate dairy pastures (2012)

Five nitrogen application rate response field experiments were undertaken in an attempt to elucidate the environmental influence on pasture mineral N requirements. A significant response to N fertiliser application rate was detected in four out of the five experiments. It was concluded that when water availability, soil temperatures and air temperatures are conducive to pasture growth an available N level of between 60 and 81 kg N/ha should be targeted when N fertiliser is used strategically to optimise pasture growth.


Key words: Tasmania, nitrogen fertiliser response