Nitrogen strip testing beneficial to crop management
Elders agronomist Brian Lynch is touting the benefits of nitrogen strip testing as part of an integrated approach to crop management, naming high yield and protein as just some of the outcomes.
As with all seasons in farming, a lot depends on rainfall and timing on the overall yield potential of the crop. The aim of nitrogen strip testing, is to reduce some uncertainty by better understanding the level of nitrogen in soil with crop requirement and adapting a farm management plan to account for this.
Based in Loxton, Mr Lynch says that he and a number of other Elders agronomists are seeing long term value in this practice as it allows them to make better in crop decisions, tailor fertiliser to different paddocks, or zones within paddocks, and ultimately apply nitrogen correctly, in line with what the soil balance and crop demands.
“All paddocks have varying nutrition levels, depending on previous crop rotations or farmer inputs, so strip testing small sections of each is an effective way to see the differences and act accordingly,” says Mr Lynch.
“We have had some really interesting results in our area, prompting us to plan our actions differently to what we expected and proving a definite return in investment by applying nitrogen correctly.”
National supplier manager – fertiliser, Adam Stone says that the practice is a good example of agronomy’s move towards greater precision agriculture.
“With unpredictable weather patterns and developments in products all the time, there is a larger degree of complexity to farm planning than ever before – but also the ability to leverage technology in ways we haven’t previously had the ability to do,” says Mr Stone.
“Ultimately it’s our responsibility to not just diagnose issues in a crop but to work proactively to make data-driven decisions, and produce an ideal outcome for our clients, before problems emerge,” he says.