Fertiliser type and placement effects on crop establishment, grain yield and water use efficiency on calcareous soils


Research organisatons
Funding source

Trial details

Researcher(s) Fabio Arsego (SARDI), Andrew Ware (SARDI)
Year(s) 2018
Contributor SARDI Minnipa Agricultural Centre
Trial location(s) Nunjikompita, SA
Related trials
Fertiliser type and placement effects on crop establishment, grain yield and water use efficiency on calcareous soils locations

On the upper Eyre Peninsula (UEP), calcareous soils constitute a high proportion (more than 1 million hectares) of soils used for agricultural production (Bertrand et al. 2003). The website ‘Yield Gap Australia’ (http://yieldgapaustralia.com.au/maps/) identifies that the average grain yield on western Eyre Peninsula (WEP) and UEP is between 41 and 45% of the water limited yield potential (1.5 t/ha for WEP and 1.8 t/ha for UEP). Closing the grain yield gap for wheat on UEP presents a challenge to growers mostly due to nutrient deficiencies, particularly on calcareous soils (Holloway et al. 2001). The majority of landholders in the western and upper Eyre Peninsula currently use granular fertilisers, which require good soil moisture conditions to enable uptake of nutrients. Limitations of water availability during the growing season influences grower decisions regarding fertiliser applications, with associated impacts on crop profitability. Consequently, growers often apply lower rates of nutrients than are required to achieve the water limiting yield potential as a risk management strategy (Sadras and Roget 2004; Monjardino et al. 2013). A deeper understanding of the multiple factors influencing the efficacy of applied granular fertilisers such as fertiliser position in relation to seed, fertiliser composition and soil structure and moisture can be used to develop alternative strategies for increasing the effectiveness of fertiliser applications (McLaughlin et al. 2011). This study aimed to determine the impact of different fertiliser products and placement relative to the seed on crop emergence, crop WUE and grain yield.

Key messages
  • Applying MAP with the seed at sowing resulted in a 25% increase in plant emergence compared to using DAP at Piednippie.
  • Applying MAP at sowing resulted in higher grain yields and better water use efficiency (WUE) in plots which had high seeding rates at Nunjikompita.
  • In combination with a high seeding rate, a blend of DAP and triple super phosphate (TSP) applied at sowing at Piednippie and Nunjikompita (plus urea) resulted in grain yields which were closer to the crop yield potential than the control.
Lead research organisation South Australian Research and Development Institute
Host research organisation N/A
Trial funding source GRDC DAS00157
Related program N/A

The present project is part of the bilateral investment initiative between SARDI and GRDC (scope study DAS00157). Special thanks to John Montgomerie and Tim Howard for providing the field trial sites at Piednippie and Nunjikompita. Thank you to Brenton Spriggs, Sue Budarick and Katherina for their collaboration with field activities. Thank you to Brett Masters, Prof. Glenn McDonald and Helena Oakey for reviewing the article.

Other trial partners Not specified
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Crop type Wheat
Treatment type(s)
  • Fertiliser: Type
  • Fertiliser: Rate
  • Fertiliser: Application
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Randomised,Replicated,Blocked

Nunjikompita 2018

Sow rate or Target density 60 kg/ha (Normal seeding rate) and 80 kg/ha (High seeding rate)
Sow date 8 June 2018
Harvest date 5 December 2018
Plot size 10m x 1.6m
Plot replication 3
Plot blocking randomised complete block design
Plot randomisation randomised complete block design

50 kg/ha Di Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), 50 kg/ha Mono Ammonium Phosphate (MAP), 50 kg/ha Urea, 100 kg/ha Triple Super Phosphate (TSP), 200 kg/ha Single Super Phosphate (SSP), 200 kg/ha Complete Nutrient Mix

See article for treatments


Boxer gold @ 1.5 L/ha, Avadex @ 1.5 L/ha, Roundup @ 2 L/ha, Hammer @ 1.6 L/ha, Broadstrike @ 800 ml/ha (5/6/18 Nunjikompita, 8/5/18 Piednippie)

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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
Nunjikompita, SA Calcareous red sandy loam
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source
Trial site Soil order
Nunjikompita, SA Anthroposol
National soil grid Source
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



Nunjikompita SA 2018

Observed climate information

Rainfall avg ann (mm) 299mm
Rainfall avg gsr (mm) 225mm
Rainfall trial total (mm) 168mm
Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 128mm

Derived climate information

Nunjikompita SA


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

SILO weather estimates sourced from https://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/silo/
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.

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Trial last modified: 23-07-2019 16:37pm AEST