Fertiliser management effects on dissolved inorganic nitrogen in runoff from Australian sugarcane farms

Fraser, Grant and Rohde, Ken and Silburn, Mark (2017) Fertiliser management effects on dissolved inorganic nitrogen in runoff from Australian sugarcane farms. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 189 (8):409. pp. 1-20. ISSN 0167-6369

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Abstract

Dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) movement from Australian sugarcane farms is believed to be a major cause of crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks which have reduced the Great Barrier Reef coral cover by ~21% (1985–2012). We develop a daily model of DIN concentration in runoff based on >200 field monitored runoff events. Runoff DIN concentrations were related to nitrogen fertiliser application rates and decreased after application with time and cumulative rainfall. Runoff after liquid fertiliser applications had higher initial DIN concentrations, though these concentrations diminished more rapidly in comparison to granular fertiliser applications. The model was validated using an independent field dataset and provided reasonable estimates of runoff DIN concentrations based on a number of modelling efficiency score results. The runoff DIN concentration model was combined with a water balance cropping model to investigate temporal aspects of sugarcane fertiliser management. Nitrogen fertiliser application in December (start of wet season) had the highest risk of DIN movement, and this was further exacerbated in years with a climate forecast for ‘wet’ seasonal conditions. The potential utility of a climate forecasting system to predict forthcoming wet months and hence DIN loss risk is demonstrated. Earlier fertiliser application or reducing fertiliser application rates in seasons with a wet climate forecast may markedly reduce runoff DIN loads; however, it is recommended that these findings be tested at a broader scale.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Jul 2018)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Jul 2018)
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2022 04:41
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2022 05:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nitrogen fertiliser application rates; Climate forecasting; Management; Water quality; Sugarcane; Great Barrier Reef
Fields of Research (2008): 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079902 Fertilisers and Agrochemicals (incl. Application)
Fields of Research (2020): 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300201 Agricultural hydrology
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3004 Crop and pasture production > 300499 Crop and pasture production not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-017-6115-z
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/48726

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