BSES technical report TE11004 - Burdekin nitrogen project - September 2011
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In response to the introduction of the regulated method of determining N, some canegrowers in the Burdekin district (which produces approximately 25% of Queensland's sugarcane) expressed concern that sugarcane yields could be negatively affected by the permissible N application rates. Growers and Sucrogen (the milling company that operates in the Burdekin region) were also of the opinion that additional research was needed to ensure that any regulated N application would not compromise the profitability and/or supply security of the local sugarcane industry. As a result of grower and industry concerns the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) contracted BSES Limited to undertake a series of trials across the Burdekin district to determine the adequacy of the regulated N for sugarcane production on different soil types and at different on-farm locations. To date BSES has established ten trials, five of which are located in the Delta and five in the Burdekin River Irrigation Area (BRIA).Replicated nitrogen rate strip trials have been established in plant sugarcane blocks on commercial farms in the Delta and BRIA. These sites were selected after considering a number of factors such as block size, shape, soil uniformity, irrigation systems employed and pest control measures. Consideration was also given to yield history of the blocks.At the conclusion of this work, partial net grower returns per hectare for each N application rate will be calculated per crop and for the complete crop cycle. The optimum N application rates that maintain the profitability of sugarcane production will be identified with due consideration to the potential impact on the environment.