Managing nutrition on sandy soils - fertiliser source


Research organisatons
Funding sources

Trial details

Researcher(s) Mick Brady (CSIRO)
Bill Davoren (CSIRO)
Rick Llewellyn (CSIRO)
Therese McBeath (CSIRO)
Michael Moodie (MSF)
Willie Shoobridge (CSIRO)
Year(s) 2016
Contributor Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
Trial location(s) Site 5, Ouyen, VIC
Managing nutrition on sandy soils - fertiliser source locations

Sandy soil types of the Northern Mallee often underperform despite good weed management and increased inputs of nitrogen and sulfur. There is still a yield gap that can be addressed, with anecdotal evidence of unused water commonly remaining in the soil at depths of approximately 60cm at harvest.
After several years of demonstrating the value to wheat production of increased nitrogen inputs on sands at Karoonda, it was time to explore nutrition packages at a broader set of Mallee sites.

Key messages

• The highest yield in 2016 at Loxton could be achieved with either 40 kg N/ha as urea or 20 kg N/ha as Zn-coat urea or Zn-enriched MAP.
• Compared to applying 20 kg N/ha as normal urea, using Zn-
coated urea (20 kg N/ha) or Zn-enriched MAP with urea (20 kg N /ha) increased yield by over 20%.
• This is the second consecutive season that Zn coated Urea at sowing (20kg N/ha) has significantly increase yield compared to normal Urea (20 kg N /ha).
• Applying foliar Zn has not increased yield at this site in 2015 or 2016.
• Nitrogen was a key driver of wheat productivity again, with 40 kg/ha N at sowing increasing yield by over 20% compared to 20 kg/ha N at sowing, but water use efficiency remained poor on this sandy soil.
• There was also no benefit in delaying N application at Ouyen, however very high rates (60-80 kg/N ha) using higher late application rates increased yield on the midslope.
• In 2016 there was a large difference in yield between the midslope (2.90 t/ha) and the nearby sand dune (0.86 t/ha) at Ouyen which could not be closed through the addition of N, S and Zn to the sand.

Lead research organisation Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
Host research organisation Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Trial funding source GRDC MSF00003
Trial funding source CSIRO
Related program Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble

We thank Bulla Burra (Loxton) and the Hastings family (Ouyen) for hosting the field sites. Thanks to Navneet Aggarwal for technical assistance. Thanks to Jeff Braun and Lou Flohr for discussions around trial design. Thanks to Colin Rivers and Ros Baird for preparing granular Zn fertilisers. This research is funded by GRDC and CSIRO Agriculture and Food (project MSF00003).

Other trial partners Ag Victoria
Download the trial report to view additional trial information


Crop type Wheat
Treatment type(s)
  • Fertiliser: Type
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Replicated

Ouyen 2016

Sow date 16 May 2016
Harvest date Not specified
Plot size Not specified
Plot replication Not specified

All plots received 50 kg/ha of single super phosphate.

The fertiliser source trial received a foliar application Mn and Cu only.

Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information
Trial source data and summary not available
Check the trial report PDF for trial results.
Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Not specified
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Site 5, Ouyen, VIC Not specified
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source: ASRIS
Trial site Soil order
Site 5, Ouyen, VIC Calcarosol
Soil Moisture Source: BOM/ANU
Average amount of water stored in the soil profile during the year, estimated by the OzWALD model-data fusion system.
Year Site 5, Ouyen VIC
2016 189.0mm
2015 170.8mm
2014 185.8mm
2013 174.8mm
2012 216.4mm
2011 308.8mm
2010 250.4mm
2009 207.7mm
2008 212.7mm
2007 261.0mm
2006 199.8mm
2005 231.6mm
2004 170.2mm
2003 193.8mm
2002 168.6mm
2001 222.2mm
2000 248.2mm
National soil grid Source: CSIRO/TERN
NOTE: National Soil Grid data is aggregated information for background information on the wider area
Actual soil values can vary significantly in a small area and the trial soil tests are the most relevant data where available

Soil properties



Derived climate information

No observed climate data available for this trial.
Derived climate data is determined from trial site location and national weather sources.

Site 5, Ouyen VIC


Some data on this site is sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology

SILO weather estimates sourced from
Jeffrey, S.J., Carter, J.O., Moodie, K.B. and Beswick, A.R. (2001). Using spatial interpolation to construct a comprehensive archive of Australian climate data , Environmental Modelling and Software, Vol 16/4, pp 309-330. DOI: 10.1016/S1364-8152(01)00008-1.

Trial last modified: 25-06-2019 10:31am AEST