Better Fertilizer Decisions for Crops

The collation of 5000 field experiments on crop fertilizer responses from across Australia.


This national project has three major components: a searchable national database of crop responses to nutrients; updated soil test interpretations including critical soil test value; and a nutrient loss index tool. It will collate data from previous fertilizer field experiments into a large accessible database. These data will be used to develop soil test, crop yield response curves for particular crop/soil/regional situations. Read more

Year of initiation:2010
Year of completion:2012


17 Dec 2015

P for 2016
A dry 2015 could allow growers to reduce P inputs for 2016

01 Sep 2014

Development of an Australian soil test database
S Speirs, M Conyers, D Reuter, K Peverill and R Norton

05 Jun 2014

Better Fertilizer Decisions for Crops
Project summary and access to the data interrogator

03 Dec 2013

Two New GRDC Factsheets
Incorporating 4R Nutrient Stewardship

05 Mar 2013

Better Fertilizer Decisions for Crops
a GRDC collaborative project

13 Feb 2011

How would you know - keeping a watch on soil nutrient levels
Soil test values vary from region to region as well as within region depending on management. A reliable soil test done on a representative soil sample will give the starting point for nutrient management decisions.

06 Sep 2010

Better Fertilizer Decisions for Crops
IPNI joins with other research groups in a national project to better define fertilizer responses.

Interpretive Summary

Soil test critical values are an important part of making good decisions about fertilizer inputs. In many cases, the original data behind those critical values is not in the public arena, nor can larger groups of data be collectively evaluated easily. The Better Fertilizer Decisions for Crops (BFDC) database was compiled from public and corporate crop yield response to N, P, K, and S using information from over 5,000 field experiments across Australian grain production regions.

This project concluded in 2012 with the completion and launch of the on-line interrogator tool (http://www. bfdc. com. au), which allows trained participants to investigate the response of grain crops to N, P, K, and S from over 5,000 field experiments in Australia. The outputs from the on-line database are soil test critical values that will allow advisers to check and substantiate their recommendations based on these values.

This project was established to improve current fertilizer recommendations by collaborating with national fertilizer industry, grains industry, state agencies, and agribusiness stakeholders. It aims to collate available and suitable N, P, K, and S crop response and soil test data for cereal, pulse, and oilseed crops, and make these data accessible through a searchable online repository.

The grain industry and fertilizer industry are seeking a better understanding of nutrient response to enable better fertilizer recommendations to be made. The national program entitled “Making Better Fertiliser Decisions for Cropping Systems in Australia”, or BFDC, will provide the first accessible online repository of searchable trials.

The grains and fertiliser industries are seeking a better understanding of nutrient response to enable better fertiliser recommendations to be made. BFDC will provide the first accessible online repository of searchable trials. The project will publish key regional and national responsiveness curves, but will also provide users with the opportunity to interrogate the database and compare crops, soils, seasons or farming systems.

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Updates & Reports


2013 Annual Report


Project Description

Wheat 40 kg N/ha

Project Leader

Simon Speirs, Industry and Innovation

Project Cooperators

Graeme Watmuff, Geographic Web Solutions
Ken Peverill, K I P Consultancy Services P/L
Doug Reuter, Reuter and Associates
Geoff Anderson, Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.
Ross Brennan, Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia
Michael Bell, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation.
Charlie Walker, Incitec Pivot P/L
Mark Conyers, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Richard Belll, Murdoch University

IPNI Staff

R. M. Norton


Oceania \ Australia and New Zealand \ AUS


4r rate, best management practices, diagnostic techniques, soil testing

barley, faba bean, field pea, lupin, rapeseed (canola), sorghum, sunflower, wheat

Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Sulfur (S)