The potential for refining nitrogen fertiliser management through accounting for climate impacts: an exploratory study for the Tully region

Biggs, J.S., Everingham, Y., Skocaj, D.M., Schroeder, B.L., Sexton, J., and Thorburn, P.J. (2021) The potential for refining nitrogen fertiliser management through accounting for climate impacts: an exploratory study for the Tully region. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 170. 112664.

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Abstract

Increasing the precision of nitrogen (N) fertiliser management in cropping systems is integral to increasing the environmental and economic sustainability of cropping. In a simulation study, we found that natural variability in year-to-year climate had a major effect on optimum N fertiliser rates for sugarcane in the Tully region of northeastern Australia, where N discharges pose high risks to Great Barrier Reef ecosystems. There were interactions between climate and other factors affecting crop growth that made optimum N rates field-specific. The regional average optimum N fertiliser rate was substantially lower than current industry guidelines. Likewise, simulated N losses to the environment at optimum N fertiliser rates were substantially lower than the simulated losses at current industry fertiliser uidelines. Dissolved N discharged from rivers is related to fertiliser applications. If the reductions in N applications identified in the study occurred in the Tully region, the reduction in dissolved N discharges from rivers in the region would almost meet current water quality improvement targets. Whilst there were many assumptions made in this exploratory study, and there are many steps between the study and a practically implemented dynamic N fertiliser recommendation system, the potential environmental benefits justify field validation and further development of the concepts identified in the study.

Item ID: 69458
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: Sugarcane; Wet tropics; Simulation; Great Barrier Reef; Water quality; APSIM
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Copyright Information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2021 22:04
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300205 Agricultural production systems simulation @ 45%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300204 Agricultural management of nutrients @ 45%
49 MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES > 4905 Statistics > 490501 Applied statistics @ 10%
SEO Codes: 26 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 2606 Industrial crops > 260607 Sugar @ 100%
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