Improving liquid nutrient efficiency and crop yields

Primaries CRT has recently established a collaboration with the highly regarded West Australian Precision seeding manufacturer Ausplow. The collaboration is a bid to improve research into liquid nutrients, with the aim of improving crop and pasture establishment, nutrient efficiency, and yields.

Primaries CRT Agronomists and Branch Managers visited the Ausplow premises recently to familiarise themselves with the DBS/Multistream liquid delivery system. The team gained knowledge on Nutrian’s liquid products, and trial work involving Ausplow and Primaries CRT Gnowangerup Branch Manager/ Agronomist Tom McInerney.

Ausplow Managing Director John Ryan started developing the Multistream in the early 2000s and says liquids have been a long time coming. “The adoption of liquids has been slow but it’s important for all of us to get it right to make it work” he said.

“I’m very excited about the future of agriculture and as a company, we’re not slacking off. There’s more work to be done for this important industry.”

Ausplow General Manager Chris Farmer said the collaborative trial work with Primaries CRT and Nutrian fits the company’s strategy moving forward.

“We’re excited to be involved with people at the coalface because that’s where we started,” he said. “Our aim has always been to improve the soil for the benefit of crop and pasture production. And we were very keen to build a fit-for-purpose trial seeder that provided multiple methods of efficient product delivery to see what works in terms of all the liquid nutrients available.”

Primaries CRT Merchandise Manager Fred Lyon said the agreement would help to develop a “synergistic approach to in-furrow crop establishment and enhancing crop nutrition”.

“That’s why we have been working with Nutrian and Ausplow for the past four years in replicated trial work – to assess the right products and delivery systems that can give farmers more confidence in using liquids going forward. There is a lot happening in this space and I believe in the future liquids will become a dominant management decision for broadacre crop establishment.”

The trial program will focus on how best we can help farmers boost crop establishment and nutrition. This will involve seed dressings, fungicides, insecticides, liquid nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and trace elements.

Ausplow has provided Primaries CRT with a fit-for-purpose DBS and Multistream trial seeder to try different delivery placements with liquids as well as different products in-furrow. In addition, there will be four DBS display modules circulating the branches. Each display unit is fitted with a liquid kit, which will enable us to explain to farmers what we are doing.

Nutrian Director Dave Seagreen said the research work was a ’game-changer’ for agriculture. “Our trials have helped us identify a lot of efficiencies using our liquid products.”

Nutrian’s main product has been Calbud; a highly concentrated, fully water- dispersible liquid fertiliser containing optimally synergistic ratios of calcium, zinc, nitrogen and magnesium with trace elements, to ensure strong early plant development.

But in recent years, the company has released crop specific products such as Canola Bud and Lupin Bud, with a Wheat Bud product in development stages.

Other liquid products include lime, gypsum, manganese, magnesium, zinc, pasture, wetters and trace (a high analysis suspension of manganese, zinc, iron, and copper blended with kelp extracts).

Tom has been working with the Ausplow trial seeder and Nutrian products since 2013. A range of nutrients, ameliorants and in furrow fungicides in liquid form have been trialled, assessing improvements in crop establishment, and herbicide activation – particularly in drier conditions.

We also want to identify benefits of in-furrow treatments in a dry year when moisture is lacking and therefore plant uptake of nutrients is slower.

It will be interesting to see if liquids can trigger a quicker response and potentially provide greater early plant vigour and crop establishment in dry conditions.

There is potentially a compromise between liquid and granular and we’ll be looking at that too.

Our competitors, both big and small have, in recent times been out there pushing products to our clients which, in some cases, have very little scientific backing and without any form of trial work to support their claims. Our aim is to be a trusted partner to our clients where we will be advising the best products to help their businesses rather than the best product that will provide a short-term kick to our own hip pockets. We aim to be hands on, doing the trial work first hand for ourselves and our clients, trialling both our products as well as competitor lines to see where the best benefit lies for our customers.

The Ausplow trial seeder comprises of a nine tine 2.7m (9ft) DBS on 30cm (12in) spacings with a three tank Multistream, with the separate pumps and three delivery lines. Down the track, variable rate applications may be introduced.

The big picture is that technology is now being better integrated with agronomy so it is not too ‘out there’ to suggest a one-pass crop establishment system, probably employing controlled traffic and edge-row sowing.

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