Understanding soil nitrogen and acidification under no-till systems

The adoption of minimum tillage and stubble retention practices provide a wide range of benefits to natural resource management and farm productivity, including:

  • reduced wind and water erosion
  • increased soil water retention
  • improved organic carbon accumulation.

However, the immobilisation of nitrogen, through microbial activity during stubble decomposition, often results in a need for the addition of nitrogen fertilisers to meet the requirements of growing crops. The increased application of nitrogen fertilisers can result in acidification within the upper layers of the soil profile. Over the longer term, the risk of acidification may be ameliorated with the full decomposition of stubbles and the release of alkalis (K2O, CaO, MgO).

The aim of this project is to increase our understanding of nitrogen demands in crops grown under no-till stubble-retention systems on southern Yorke Peninsula, allowing for adjustments in nutrient management and provide insights into the acidification process.

Funding partners

  • State NRM Program – Sustainable Dryland Agriculture Initiative