Nutrient management

Nutrient management

Nutrient management has taken centre stage in recent years with government targets to reduce dissolved nitrogen in water run-off into the Great Barrier Reef by at least 80% by 2025.

A significant amount of research continues to be conducted into optimising nitrogen use in the crop cycle and minimising losses to the environment, including enhanced efficiency and slow release fertilisers, climate forecasting and application technologies.

Out-dated nutrient management plans are being replaced with innovative best practice programs based on geo-referenced soil sampling. With new programs helping to reduce the amount of fertiliser and other nutrients being used on farms, and cutting-edge machinery delivering nutrients directly to the roots reducing contaminated run-off.  

Lindsay Neilsen redefined his approach to soil health and nutrients, as part of an expansive three-year trial in Mackay, to determine if using slow-release EEFs will prove to be an answer to reducing nutrient loss. Read more.



Michael Santarossa and his father Alan introduced nutrient management plans, laser levelled their blocks and converted to a 1.8m row system. Their nutrient management plans involve regular soil testing to check they are getting the inputs right for the optimum uptake of nutrients. Varying the rate of application can mean using multiple mixes of fertiliser each year. Since making these changes they've had significantly higher yields than the district average. Read more.


Wet Tropics cane growers are benefitting from one-on-one nutrient planning sessions being delivered by the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP). Funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust III program, WTSIP’s Extension Officers provide individualised support to growers to help them improve farm run-off by refining their fertiliser use. Drew Watson says his whole-of-farm nutrient management plan is a valuable tool that saves him time and hassle. Read more.


Drew also features in Season 7 of the Virtual Bus Tour Series, showcasing how farmers from Mossman to Maryborough are improving the quality of run-off into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, while running productive and profitable businesses. Take a look around the beautiful Wet Tropics where the Watson family have been farming for generations since the 1890s. Watch more.

Also in this section: Soil testing, SIX EASY STEPS and Fertiliser application improvements