Uptake – Delivering Better Fertiliser Outcomes

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The uPtake Project was a series of fertiliser trials that aim to improve confidence in fertiliser recommendations for local soils and conditions that took place in the Lower Blackwood Catchment. A desired outcome of the trials is increased uptake of evidence-based fertiliser application that optimises production whilst reducing excess run off of nutrients into waterways and estuaries.

The major aspect of the trials was to test different levels of phosphorus application to optimise production and minimise runoff . Some trials also included evaluation of innovative technology to measure pasture productivity and soil nutrient status (such as near-infrared and x-ray fluorescence)

The trials were established over three growing seasons – in early 2019 and 2020 and were monitored by scientists and agronomists on a Technical Reference Group with local advisors and host farmers. The Lower Blackwood LCDC provides a point of contact between scientists and farmers.

Further trials will took place over the next two years (2021 and 2022), with the aim being to extend the trials findings to the wider farming community.

A better understanding of the fertiliser science means I am now more confident to leave off phosphorus if my soil tests show there is sufficient and apply other nutrients if needed.

Scott River Farmer Andrew McNab

Main Findings…

The four years of trials from 2019-23 confirmed that the national critical values for phosphorus are relevant to south-west WA and contemporary pasture species.

The work of the uPtake project continues through related projects including Soil Wise and Healthy Estuaries WA.

Pasture cuts taken at Scott River farmer Andrew McNab’s in May 2021. Estimated yield from whole plot was 800kg
Pasture cuts taken at Scott River farmer Andrew McNab’s in May 2021. Estimated yield from whole plot was 800kg


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The project is funded with $3.26 million from the State Government’s Healthy Estuaries WA program (formerly Regional Estuaries Initiative); and $2.35 million through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and is delivered in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the grazing and fertiliser industry and catchment groups.