Improved environmental outcomes and profitability through innovative management of nitrogen SRDC research project CSE011 final report
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Nitrogen (N) fertiliser additions are an important contributor to productivity and profitability in intensive farming systems, including sugarcane production. However, applying N increases losses of N to the environment, and so all intensive agricultural industries face the challenge of maintaining productivity while minimising environmental impacts of N fertiliser use. This challenge has become particularly important for sugarcane production in Australia because community concern grows over the impact of N on the health of the Great Barrier Reef and sugarcane production has the largest use of N fertiliser in the region. It has been suggested that replacing the N lost from a crop through harvested cane and environmental losses will better align N fertiliser applications to the actual needs of sugarcane crops and the other potential sources of N available to the crop, and so improve the financial and environmental sustainability of the Australian sugarcane industry. In this project we tested and further developed an innovative N fertiliser management system, the N Replacement (NR) system.