Ausplow’s on-going research and development program involving liquid fertilisers at its Quairading research and development centre has entered its second phase.
Following last year’s trial of 10 treatments, held in a difficult season with statistically inconclusive results, this year’s trial which was established in May, will focus on assessing nutrient combinations.
These will include a specially-developed Ausplow formulation, designed by the company’s R&D coordinator and microbiologist Dr Margaret Roper (pictured above) and nutrient consultant Dave Seagreen.
All the treatments in the trial will involve near-row sowing.
According to Dr Roper, the focus of the trial is on “proving the hypothesis that the new liquid fertilisers perform better than current standard fertiliser strategies in a near-row sowing system”.
While working as a principal research scientist at CSIRO, Dr Roper was engaged in research trials that showed near-row sowing overcame the problems of establishing crops in non-wetting soils.
“This is further enhanced with the DBS system,” Dr Roper said. “Essentially the three-slot system creates an environment that improves plant germination, particularly in dry-sowing scenarios in water-repellent soils.
“We are seeing an increase in dry sowing, particularly as farmers are starting seeding programs earlier sowing canola.
“Our hypothesis is that in near-row sowing, the DBS maintains a relative humidity environment that allows dry seeding at the paddock scale by creating a wet seeding environment at the seedling scale.
“This is because, in water-repellent soils, water enters the soil via old root pathways and therefore, near-row sowing together with liquid fertilisers creates a relative humidity that is near 100 per cent, or at saturation point of water vapour surrounding the seed.
“This is a real eye-opener for us as we better understand how the DBS creates this environment allowing water vapour to be a primary source of moisture for seeds.
“If our hypothesis proves to be correct, the combination of liquid fertilisers and near-row sowing will greatly mitigate the negative impacts of dry sowing, reducing or eliminating staggered plant germinations typical of water-repellent soils.
“I am very excited by our initial trial work and I believe the new Ausplow nutrient formulation is a key to the overall success of our research.”

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Saturday, June 6, 2020