Nutrient Re-distribution in Ameliorated Soils PROC-9175173

RFT Description

RFT No. PROC 9175173: Request for Tender for Nutrient re-distribution and availability in ameliorated and cultivated soils in the Western Region

Release Date

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Closing Time

5pm ACT local time, Tuesday 25 July 2017

Offer Period

Tenders will remain open for acceptance by the GRDC for a period of 6 months after the Closing Time.

Deadline for submission of Tender enquiries

5pm ACT local time, Tuesday 18 July 2017

Document Contact and Enquiries

Attention: Stephanie Meikle

Grains Research and Development Corporation


Electronic Lodgement of Tenders

Tenderers must submit their responses electronically through the Grains Investment Portal at


The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is a statutory corporation established under the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989. It is subject to accountability and reporting obligations set out in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. It is responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research and development, and delivering improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.

Substantial modification of soils through one-off mechanical soil amelioration activities including ploughing, ripping, topsoil inversion, delving and spading alter the distribution of nutrients through the soil profile. The full implications of this for plant uptake of nutrients, fertiliser requirements and prognostics to predict fertiliser requirements are unclear.

The area of soil mechanically modified to tackle one or more non-nutritional soil constraints is increasing rapidly. Given that the soil modifications are aimed at overcoming important constraints such as non-wetting, soil compaction, lime incorporation and herbicide resistance, there is every likelihood that the practice will expand in future.  When soil is modified in such an extreme manner, nutrients that are near the soil surface are redistributed in some way through the soil profile. The effects of different mechanical soil modifications on the movement and subsequent plant availability of different nutrients can be theorised about but is seldom measured.

This investment will improve understanding of how soil modifications alter the availability of nutrients in the soil and for how long, and understand the implications of any consequential changes on fertiliser requirements.  For instance, inclusion of organic-rich topsoil behind ripping tines appears to increase nitrogen supply to plants and decrease nitrogen fertiliser requirements in the first season after ripping. It is unclear how many seasons this might continue for.

The investment will assess the suitability of historical methods for estimating quantities of plant-available nutrients after soil has been modified. It is unlikely that sampling and analysis of topsoil will adequately reflect supply from nutrients that are mixed deeply through the soil profile. New or modified methods will be suggested and may include better ways of using and interpreting existing techniques.

Implications of soil modification on fertiliser advice and for decision support tools will be communicated to industry.

By June 30 2021, new knowledge on the impact of mechanical soil amelioration practices on nutrient re-distribution through the soil profile and the impact on crop demand for nutrition and its better prediction will result in better fertiliser decisions.

This GRDC investment is to:

  1. By June 30 2021, conduct a series of experiments on the major soils types in the Western Region to understand the effect of mechanical soil amelioration on nutrient re-distribution and its impact on crop nutrient supply. The research will focus on;
    1. The effect of different mechanical soil amelioration practices on the re- distribution of plant-available nutrition through the soil profile.
    2. Changes in soil supply and crop response to fertiliser in mechanically ameliorated soils.
    3. New soil testing methodology to accurately determine plant-available nutrition in ameliorated soils.
      1. Collaboration with the ‘Improved sampling methods to better predict nutrient availability and supply of soils in the Western Region’ project is required.
      2. Use revised soil tests and crop response information to provide improved fertiliser requirements predictions.
    4. At least two peer reviewed journal articles published by June 2021.
  2. Annually, for the life of the project, extend the research to at least 300 growers, advisers and industry professionals.
  3. By March 2018, and each subsequent year, an Annual Progress Report detailing the key findings of the project for the reporting period.
  4. By June 30 2021, a Final Technical Report amalgamating the key findings, new knowledge and conclusions of the project to provide an overall interpretation of the work.

Application period

The application end date for this investment is 5pm ACT local time on 25 July 2017 as advised on the Grains Investment Portal and all applications must be submitted via the portal prior to this closing date for consideration.

All requests for further information or clarification in relation to this investment should be made in writing to prior to 5pm ACT local time on Tuesday 18 July 2017. All requests and responses to requests will be published on the GRDC website.

Selection Criteria

  1. A clear and thorough plan to achieve the project output, specifying:
    1. Method to be used
    2. Statistically sound experimental data generated via collaboration with SAGI West to develop appropriate statistical methodology for trial design, data analysis, and associated operational budgetary costings
    3. Proposed milestones
    4. Proposed locations of field experiments (if required to deliver project outputs)
    5. Staffing (including relevant skills, experience and availability of key personnel and proposed subcontractors)
    6. Budget (defining the funds sought in each year of the project and the potential investment from all parties)
    7. Project structure and management arrangements
  2. A plan for how the project will contribute to achievement of the outcome, specifying:
    1. Expected steps to deliver the outcome (pathway to market)
    2. Relevant assumptions in relation to each step of the pathway to market
    3. Identification of target users of the project outputs (who will the project directly deliver to e.g. grower, adviser, plant breeder, pathologist, the GRDC)
    4. Specific information, products and/or services to be delivered to target users
    5. Potential for the development of commercial IP
  3. Demonstrated track record of the project team, including:
    1. Relevant achievements of the project leader in providing leadership, co-ordination, management, monitoring and evaluation and the timely delivery of high quality outputs
    2. Relevant technical knowledge and experience of all key personnel (including proposed subcontractors) in the research area
    3. Relevant achievements in the delivery of commercial IP (if relevant)
    4. Ability of the project team to collaborate with the relevant research organisations and industry personnel to build on the research (national and international) already undertaken in this area
  4. Freedom to operate in regards to the provision of the project outputs to GRDC or a third party if required:
    1. Research Organisation intellectual property that is required to deliver the project outputs and any restrictions that may impact on the provision of project outputs to GRDC or a third party, if required
    2. Third party intellectual property that is required to deliver the project outputs and any restrictions that may impact on the provision of project outputs to GRDC or a third party, if required
    3. Other intellectual property that may impact upon the delivery of project outputs to GRDC or a third party
    4. The approach to be taken to overcome any restrictions identified
  5. The cost effectiveness and value for money of the tender response.
  6. Compliance with the tender requirements and draft Contract.
  7. Quality and effectiveness of risk controls.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The Applicant must be a single legal entity or recognised firm of partners.
  2. The Applicant must be financially viable. For the purposes of this condition, “financially viable” means that the Tenderer has not had any of the following events occur in respect of it:
    1. a meeting of creditors being called or held within the past five years;
    2. the appointment of a liquidator, provisional liquidator or administrator within the past five years;
    3. the appointment of a controller (as defined in section 9 of the Corporations Act (2001)), or analogous person appointed, including in respect of any of its property within the past five years;
    4. a failure to comply with a statutory demand in respect of the payment of any debt;
    5. an inability to pay debts as they fall due or otherwise becoming insolvent;
    6. becoming incapable of managing its own affairs for any reason;
    7. taking any step resulting in insolvency under administration (as defined in section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001);
    8. entering into a compromise or arrangement with, or assignment for the benefit of, any of its creditors, or any analogous event.
  3. The Applicant and any proposed subcontractor must be compliant with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
  4. The Applicant must include in its application details of any known circumstances that may give rise to an actual or potential Conflict of Interest with GRDC in responding to this procurement. The Applicant's response will be taken into account in the evaluation.


Applying for GRDC investments is now done using the GRDC Grains Investment Portal.  Once registered, users can visit the Portal anytime.

To register as a user, please visit

  • Click on the register button at the top right hand side.
  • Complete the Registration Form. Fill in all the fields: your email address, a password and the captcha. Your password must be alphanumeric with at least one special character (i.e. not a letter or number). Click register to continue the process.
  • Registration is confirmed by the system sending an email to you, with details to complete the registration process.
  • Once the registration process is complete, you can sign in and review all investments open for tender

Once you have located this investment, you can commence the application process by completing the details for each field available, until you reach “Submit Application” on the last page.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Stephanie Meikle – Contracts Administrator West via email or use the online support function available.

Application evaluation

Applications will be considered by a selection committee and the successful applicant will be informed within four weeks of the application closing date.

Questions and Answers

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