Despite best practices, an estimated 40% to 50% of applied nitrogen is unavailable to the crop due to immobilisation by soil microorganisms or loss from the soil through denitrification or leaching. Although some soil microorganisms contribute to this nitrogen loss or immobilisation in the soil, others can enhance the availability or stability of nitrogen in the soil or even improve root growth and physiological functions, all of which can have a positive influence on nitrogen use efficiency.
In three recent on-farm trials in grain sorghum, using a starter fertiliser consisting of liquid phosphorus and zinc with Foundation LM led to an average yield improvement of 653.50kg/ha (with an ROI of ~10:1) compared to no starter. The grower had previously trialled liquid starters—ones that did not include the Foundation LM biocatalyst—with no success.
The trials were conducted in G33 variety sorghum at three sites in Gurley, New South Wales. The soil was grey-black vertosol. Starter fertiliser with Foundation LM ("Liquid Boost Start") was applied at 7L/ha with water (80L/ha) and compared to water only (80-100L/ha). Yield data was collected by three S680 headers with GS3 and processed via Echelon.
Growers make a significant investment in their fertiliser every year. However, some fertilisers—particularly granular phosphorus and potassium (P and K) fertilisers—are not very efficient in the first season in which they are applied. Using a technology like Basis XC to increase nutrient availability and uptake can assist growers in addressing this problem and improving their fertiliser efficiency.
In this wheat trial near Esperance, Western Australia, Basis XC is proving its value by enhancing early wheat growth. The root systems of the young wheat plants are noticeably more developed where Basis XC-treated fertiliser was applied as compared to areas where untreated fertiliser was used. NDVI imagery from the trial supports this observation, indicating greater plant health where Basis XC has been used.
Agronomists know that it's important to look at all aspects of crop growth—both above the ground and below—when checking on a trial. This trial evaluating Basis XC in forage brassica is a good example of why this is necessary.
When Landmark agronomists visited the trial site near Millicent, South Australia in April, they noted that the crop, which was sown in spring on heavy peat soil with naturally high fertility levels, looked only slightly better above ground where the grower's base granular fertiliser had been treated with Basis XC. Below ground, however, the differences were obvious.
This winter 2018 trial in barley demonstrated that adding Basis XC to starter fertiliser can have a positive impact on barley growth and yield.
The trial was conducted by Landmark Goondiwindi using MAP starter fertiliser (40kg/ha) treated with Basis XC (2L/tonne). Treated and untreated fertiliser was applied, along with 80kg/ha of urea in crop. Moisture availability was limited during the season, with only 85mm of in-crop rainfall.
Above the ground, there were few visual differences in crop between the treated and control areas of the paddock, and no distinct nutritional differences were revealed on two tissue tests taken in crop. Below the ground, however, the benefits of Basis XC were more apparent. The barley grown where Basis XC-treated fertiliser had been applied developed stronger root systems, which were first observable when the crop began to tiller.
By Maud Hinchee, PhD, Chief Science Officer, Agricen Sciences
Plants are constantly responding to their senses. They can touch, smell, taste and otherwise sense water, food and predators—and they can remember. Of course, they don’t do all of this exactly the way a human does, but they do respond to the messages they receive from the world around them to survive, thrive and reproduce—much the way we do.
This is a pretty stimulating idea – that plants are actually sentient beings responding to stimuli in a purposeful manner and communicating with each other and with potential friends and foes. It’s also an idea that is captivating researchers and companies in the agricultural space, most notably around the topic of biostimulants and other agricultural biologicals.
In winter 2018, an on-farm chickpea trial was conducted by Landmark Goondiwindi to evaluate the effect of applying Basis XC to starter fertiliser. The trial showed earlier crop emergence and higher chickpea yields when the grower's standard starter fertiliser (30kg/ha NPS Kote + 1% Zn) was treated with Basis XC versus untreated.
The greatest difference noticed in the crop throughout the trial was at crop emergence. The Basis XC-treated area had greater vigour, resulting in a higher plant stand. Root growth was also much more vigorous in the treated area, with a higher production of lateral roots and earlier nodulation.
A canola trial in Esperance, Western Australia, shows the benefits of using Basis to enhance nutrient availability from granular fertilisers.
In this trial, Basis* was applied onto MAP Trace fertiliser (80 kg) and compared to MAP Trace alone. The canola seeding date was 1st May 2018. In canola plants sampled on 10th July 2018, there was a significant increase in root mass where Basis-treated fertiliser had been applied.
Basis XC is a biocatalyst that can be applied to granular fertiliser blends to accelerate fertiliser breakdown and improve crop growth. Below we answer some key questions about this innovative product.
Basis XC helps mineralise nitrogen and phosphorus from organic forms into plant-available, inorganic forms, but how does it work on potassium, gypsum or lime?
The biochemistry in Basis XC hastens the breakdown of treated fertiliser granules and will also help stimulate more root development, which results in a better ability to capture nutrients, including potassium. In addition, the biochemistry will help pull apart calcium from carbonate (lime) and sulfate (gypsum), better allowing the calcium in the applied fertiliser to be utilised.