Soil nutrition targeted at CQ workshops

Author: Michael Thomson | Date: 12 Nov 2013

Ivan Gowlett, Neil Dunbar and Chris Dowling at a workshop.

Central Queensland grain growers are targeting more precise management of soil nutrition to bolster farm productivity, following workshops in Capella and Biloela last week.

The soil and plant nutrition workshops were tailored specifically for farmers who had previously identified soil types and crop performance zones, soil testing, and understanding long term fertility balances as issues they needed to address in their business.

The producers in attendance are participants in the Grains Best Management Practices (BMP) program, an initiative of the Queensland Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), the Fitzroy Basin Association and AgForce Qld, which help producers identify pathways to improving on-farm practices to meet industry standards and improve profitability. 

The workshops were delivered by Chris Dowling from Back Paddock Company as part of the northern region, Nutrition - Training and Extension project, for the More Profit from Crop Nutrition II (MPCN II) Initiative, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and DAFF.

“Topics around identifying and treating specific troublesome areas within paddocks were discussed, as was the role of nutrients, major and trace nutrients, emerging deficiencies to be on the look-out for and long term nutrient budgeting,” Mr Dowling said.

“A hot topic discussed by producers was application methods for phosphorus, such as liquid versus solid P, and how to incorporate deep phosphorus fertiliser techniques in current farming systems.”

As a result of the workshop, Clermont producer Justin Staier, “Innisfree”, has organised more soil testing, including 2cm GPS logged locations on his black soil farming country, so that he can better match the application rates and fertiliser blends with different areas in the same paddock.

“We know phosphorus is an issue in our area but we want to get a better understanding of how it is impacting our farming system, and whether or not applying more P will deliver a bigger response from the crops in our system,” Mr Staier said.

“We’ve been a bit cautious with the cost of fertiliser and have probably been putting on a slightly less than we should have.

“Mr Dowling taught us quite a bit about uptake and removal rates of nutrients correlated to yields and encouraged us to soil test as close to planting and applying nitrogen as possible, to help reach our target proteins and yields.”

Mr Staier, who has just finished harvesting wheat and chickpeas and is waiting for summer rain before planting sorghum, said that after attending the course he was able to ask his agronomist more relevant questions and make a more informed decision on investing in soil nutrition.

A further six workshops will be held with grain growers in southern Queensland and northern NSW early in 2014.

More information on the More Profit from Crop Nutrition Initiative is available from

Caption: Grain growers Ivan Gowlett and Neil Dunbar with trainer Chris Dowling, of the Back Paddock Company.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Kaara Klepper, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Queensland
07 4639 8870


Michael Thomson, Senior Consultant, Cox Inall Communications
07 4927 0805, 0408 819 666

GRDC Project Code DAQ00148

Region North, South, West