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Nitrogen Decision Making Journey -SFS Results Morning

There’s nothing quite like having face to face events again, this especially applies to the SFS results morning, where a year’s worth of work and knowledge is presented. On Tuesday 22 March, 70 people attend the SFS annual trial results morning at the Willaura Hall. The attendees ranged from members, growers, advisors and students alike.

There were several speakers who spoke on a range of topics, linked by the common theme, nitrogen and decisions around nitrogen management.  With the price of nitrogen already double of last year’s price and the potential to rise further, many growers are concerned about how to best manage this key input.

Jon Midwood, of Tech Crop Services and National GRDC Hyper Yielding Crops Coordinator, presented what critical factors grower’s need to consider in nitrogen use. He touched on timings of urea application, importance of soil testing, yield targets, climate forecasts and other nutrient interactions.

This led to the next presentation on commodity price predictions and stability of markets, in both urea and grain. A valuable insight into what agriculture can expect to see happen in the market within the next few months and how that might influence our decisions from Wes Lefroy, Rabobank.

Then it was time for the SFS trials to shine with results and interactions presented and discussed by Ashley Amourgis, Research and Extension Coordinator and Grace Evans, Research and Extension Officer. The SFS Variety Management Trials in wheat and canola both looked at how nitrogen timing, rates and canopy management can play a role in returning a profitable yield. Followed by James Manson, PhD student at the University of Adelaide and former SFS Senior Research and Extension Officer, went through the SFS Faba Bean Agronomy Trials and the role of faba beans in the nitrogen fixation cycle.

With all the information presented the attendees then had the opportunity to be stepped through a decision matrix example on “When should I apply the greatest percentage of total N to gain the best return for cereal crops?” With 3 decisional answers of Early season (at sowing), Early/Mid (at tillering), Mid (at GS 31) by Cam Nicholson, Nicon Rural Services.  “Decision Matrices help take the stress and emotion out of the decision, as you can list all the critical factors around the decision, what the trigger points that would change your decision and you create a scoring system that supports the decision” Cam said.

Cam also showed the room the My Farm Dashboard that has been supported by Southern Farming Systems through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the GRDC with collaborating partners Federation University (Ballarat), Glenelg Hopkins CMA, MacKillop Farm Management Group and Agriculture Kangaroo Island. The My Farm Dashboard provides a one stop online portal for farmers to access resources such as climate forecasts, local soil moisture information, commodity information to make more informed decisions.

It was a fantastic event and the SFS team thanks those who attended and supported the day, recordings will be available from www.sfs.org.au  in 2 weeks. We would also like to extend our appreciation to our Partners who had displays on the day and supported the trials throughout the 2021 season.  SFS will be holding more events throughout the year, including crop walks, agronomy days and our inaugural AgriFocus on 19 October. We always encourage people to come along and check out what we do!

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