NESP TWQ Round 2 - Project 2.1.8 - Improved water quality outcomes from on-farm nitrogen management

Region map

The sugar industry occupies 350,000ha in Reef catchments, applied 58,000t of nitrogen (N) fertilizer in 2014 and is a major contributor of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) to Great Barrier Reef receiving waters. There are many potential mechanisms for reducing on-farm N- usage. However, the comprehensive review of N use in sugarcane (SRA/DoE 2014) identified widespread over-use of N fertilizer and recommended adopting production unit yield potential (PUYP) combined with enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs) to reduce ’surplus N’ (where applied N>crop requirements). This project will combine with existing farm trials at identified N loss ‘hot spots’ to test PUYP as the basis for determining fertilizer N rates and compare EEFs with standard N fertilizers for minimizing N losses, and to examine the water quality benefits that derive from such practice changes. Productivity, economic and environmental indicators will validate these strategies for reducing surplus N and produce recommendations for enhanced BMP’s.

NESP TWQ Project Page




10 March 2021

The dataset consists of tables of means, with statistical differences indicated where they are significant, for measured crop performance, fertilizer N recovery and use efficiency at 6 field sites from Mackay to Freshwater. Runoff losses of N are also shown from sites at Freshwater and Silkwood.

**This dataset is currently under embargo until December 2021.