This project aims to determine if Zn deficiency is limiting rice growth, and if alleviating this deficiency results in increased yield.
The External Supplemental Review of the Sustainable and Resilient Farming Systems Intensification (SRFSI) project (CSE/2011/077) identified soil health as an area of concern, with soil pH and associated toxicities, trace element deficiencies (Zn, Cu, B), low organic carbon levels, and soil structural problems identified as key issues. This project will provide additional information to allow the validity of these future research needs to be determined and will answer the following questions:
- In areas where N fertiliser use has increased, are soils acidifying, and how rapidly is this acidification process likely to proceed?
- Is Zn (B) deficiency widespread, and will application of Zn fertiliser increase rice yields?
- Is the organic matter increase observed under conservation tillage practice resulting in an improvement in soil structure?
- What insights into system sustainability can be gained from simple partial nutrient budgets?
This project is part of the DFAT/ACIAR-funded Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP) program.
- Evaluating the extent of soil acidification, and risk/rate of acidification.
- Evaluating the zinc status of rice crops, and the potential for a yield response to zinc fertiliser application.
- Evaluating the soil structural benefits of conservation agriculture.
- Calculating preliminary partial nutrient budgets.