The demand for sustainable agriculture practices has been growing steadily, prompting growers to explore alternative methods to meet their crops’ nitrogen needs. Traditional synthetic nitrogen fertilisers, once widely relied upon, are losing favour due to their increasing costs and substantial greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing.

In response, growers are turning to organic nitrogen sources as a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution. However, while the general principles of nitrogen mineralisation from organic sources are well known (for example, the impact of soil temperature, moisture, and organic carbon to nitrogen ratios), managing organic nitrogen to meet crop demands remains a challenge.

To support growers interested in adopting organic nitrogen sources, the Soil Wealth ICP vegetable demonstration site at Mulgowie Farming Company in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley will:

  • Monitor seasonal soil nitrate and ammonium levels and how they relate to soil temperature and moisture under different organic nitrogen sources (compost and legume cover crops) and management practices
  • Trial practical ways of managing organic nitrogen sources to better match vegetable crop needs.