Research into how crop rotation and liming history affect the availability of soil phosphorus has unearthed the importance of lime treatments, rotational history and phosphorus on increasing grain yields.
Department of Agriculture and Food research officer Craig Scanlan will present the research findings at the 2013 Western Australian Agribusiness Crop Updates event being held on 25 and 26 February at Crown Perth.
Dr Scanlan said field trials held at the Wongan Hills Research Station indicated that lime history had a significant effect on soil phosphorus availability.
“Growers can greatly benefit from this knowledge when they experience soil acidity as they are not getting maximum value from their fertiliser which results in decreased yield potential,” he said.
The field trials that had either a lupin/wheat rotation or continuous wheat and lime had the greatest grain yield.
“In the lupin/wheat rotation a lime history gave an extra 495 kilograms per hectare more grain than the treatments with no lime, and in the continuous wheat rotation a lime history gave an extra 309 kilograms per hectare than treatments with no lime,” Dr Scanlan said.
“We observed significant responses to phosphorus fertiliser only in the trials where lime had been applied.
“The results indicate that grain yield responses to lime and phosphorus treatments were driven by growing conditions prior to flowering with grain size distribution not affected by the treatments.
“Lime also had a greater effect than rotation in regards to soil phosphorus availability and grain yield.
“Yield was highest where lime was applied and it appears that phosphorus fertiliser is used more effectively when lime has been applied. This will relationship will be further investigated in the coming years.”
The WA Agribusiness Crop Updates 2013 is supported by the department and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
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