Cairns, 13th June, 2016 – Liquid fertilisers could hold the key to improving nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), which has been recognised as one of the most important issues facing cane growers today as they balance productivity and profitability with long-term sustainability.

In a recent review of ‘nitrogen use efficiency in sugarcane’ by Sugar Research Australia, commissioned by the Australian Government Reef Programme, the sugar industry was named as the most significant contributor to the anthropogenic loads of nitrogen entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

With these findings, LiquaForce general manager Cameron Liddle said it came as no surprise both Federal and State governments were now focused on improving NUE in the Australian sugar industry to reduce these loads wherever possible.

He said part of the recommendations to improve efficiency was to look at the source of nitrogen accumulated in cane crops, the demand for nitrogen at different critical growth stages and the fate of nitrogen inputs such as fertilisers in the soil-crop continuum.

“This report alongside the implementation of the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan outlining the overarching framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef from 2015 to 2050, means farming practices are now more closely scrutinised than they ever have been before.

“Growers now have to effectively manage run-off reduction as part of this 2050 plan. There is no question in our minds that liquid is the most sustainable option going forward and we have lamented this fact for many years.”

Mr Liddle said growers moving across from traditional granular fertilisers to liquid-based products were already seeing really benefits, but greater awareness and education was still needed.

“With a careful, scientific based approach to meeting a farm’s nutrient requirements, we know waste and excess run-off can be dramatically reduced and just as it is recommended in this SRA report, we can meet the needs of nitrogen at different critical growth stages,” he said.

Findings that have also been proved in an independent report Liquid Fertilisers for Plant Care carried out by the highly respected National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA), University of Southern Queensland.

Key findings of the study, which was led by research scientist, Pam Pittaway of the NCEA, found that

LiquaForce liquid fertilisers minimised the potential for nitrogen leaching by 23% compared to other granular fertilisers.

Mr Liddle said LiquaForce would continue to innovate in the area of liquid fertilisers, ensuring a viable, and long-term sustainable future for the sugar industry.

“Our Three Step Complete Nutrient Management Strategy is the result of 12 years of research and innovation. The stablilsing effect of molasses in step one and organic carbon in step two are just two examples of the work we are doing in this area to help stabilise intricate fixing bacteria, keeping nitrogen in an ammonion form by inhibiting nitrification.”

“Another example of the work we are doing in this area is Liquaforce’s Value N spilt application nitrogen foliar, which can be used in conjunction with any normal weed control spray programs – saving time, minimising labour costs as well as reducing energy consumption,” he said.

For more information contact Cameron Liddle on 0427 765 711.

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