The 4 R's of Fertiliser - Choosing the Right Placement

The 4 R's of Fertiliser

Choosing the Right Placement

By now we should all be familiar with the 4R’s fertilser stewardship program which is used all over the world.

  • The Right product
  • The Right rate
  • The Right timing
  • The Right placement

In this final 4R’s bulletin we will discuss the Right Placement

You may ask yourself, “what is so important about where my fertiliser hits the paddock? It all works out the same , right?”


If fertiliser is applied to the soil surface as a broad application it risks substantial nitrogen loss from volatilisation and all nutrients being lost in run off from the paddock during rain or irrigation events.

Applying fertiliser in a band too far away from the crop root zone risks poor crop uptake as the fertiliser is not reachable.

While not themselves overly acidic, applying acidifying  granular product in a concentrated band too close to plant roots  and subsequent root zone acid soil pH can restrict plant growth and limit productivity.

Applying fertiliser low in the furrow where water flow is greatest and the soil remains wet for a longer period increases nitrogen losses from denitrification under anaerobic conditions. It also maximises the risk of phosphorus loss with sediment carried  into streams and waterways.

LiquaForce liquid fertilisers are formulated to be pH neutral so as to avoid toxic shock to plant roots and other growth structures. They are already hydrolysed so they are immediately available to the plant. When combined with placement directly to the crop root zone as stool split applications in sugarcane, this means all of the risk factors above are removed or substantially reduced.

Some high pH sodic soils will be prone to structure collapse and compaction when wet – crops in these soils are identified as benefitting from side dress application of liquid and granular fertiliser so as to maximise the interface between fertiliser and water availability where wetting up into crop row is impaired. LiquaForce applicators have easy conversion kits for side dressing in these situations.

LiquaForce also has available foliar applied products which are compatible with herbicides and can be applied by boom spray and or aircraft during weed spraying operations. These foliar products are inherently highly efficient and the plant takes up the applied nutrient rapidly through the leaves and stems. Foliar or basal application mid growth season affords a split application to lift the crops’ nutrient utilisation.

To maximise your benefits from fertiliser use you only need to call your local LiquaForce representative for a full rundown on our agronomic services and product supply options.

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