Canola growers can drive up the performance of their crops by using a new traffic light system to navigate nutrient management strategies.
The Critical nutrient levels for canola in Western Australia online tool was developed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, with the support of the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
Department development officer Andrew Blake said the web pages would help growers and consultants to address nutrient issues and soil constraints and develop mitigation strategies.
Mr Blake said the traffic light colour coded soil and tissue test results determined the urgency of addressing nutrient or soil constraint issues.
“The traffic light chart quickly highlights whether nutrient levels in the soil or plant are likely to result in reduced seed yield, while the tool also estimates the severity of expected yield losses for a range of plant macro and micro nutrients and soil constraints,” he said.
“If the traffic light shows a test result as red, this means yield losses of more than 25 per cent are likely, meaning this particular issue needs addressing as a priority. Where a test result is orange, yield loss between 15-25 per cent are likely, yellow indicates 5-15 per cent losses and green estimates less than 5 per cent yield loss.”
The pages also include general information about canola nutrition and the behaviour of each nutrient in soils and plants, as well as suggestions for remedial action and links to diagnosis and paddock management tools.
The critical levels were developed by department staff drawing on many research trials conducted over several years.
The tool includes the macro nutrients phosphorous, sulphur, potassium and nitrogen, as well as the micro nutrients copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum and boron.
The webpages also feature information about how other soil constraints, such as soil acidity, sodicity, compaction and salinity, affect canola nutrition.
Mr Blake said the new webpages would be a useful tool to help develop fertiliser and soil amelioration programs.
“It is not intended to replace professional paddock specific advice, rather help growers and consultants determine where best to target their fertiliser or soil amelioration investment to ensure good canola crop nutrition and to optimise crop potential and profit,” he said.
The Critical nutrient levels for canola in Western Australia web pages can be found by clicking here.
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison
+61 (0)8 9368 3937