Nutrient Balances for Australian Natural Resource Management Zones

Estimating nutrient inputs and removals in Australian agricultural regions.


Nutrient balances for Australian NRM zones In 2001, the federal government published an "Australian Agricultural Assessment", as part of a National Land and Water Resources Audit (NLWRA) (see http://www. anra. gov. au/topics/agriculture/pubs/national/agriculture_contents. html) included an assessment of nutrient management in Australian agriculture including a farm-gate nutrient balance for N, P, K, S and Ca. These data are publically available, and are for the audit period around 1994 to 1996. Read more

Year of initiation:2010
Year of completion:2018


25 Jan 2017

Potassium removal and use in Australia
Presented at the K Frontiers workshop, Rome, Italy

07 Dec 2016

Nitrogen performance indicators for Australian grain farms
Presented at the International Nitrogen Conference, Melbourne, Australia

17 Nov 2014

Increasing nutrient use efficiency in farming systems
presented at the Soil Science Australia biennial conference

06 Nov 2014

Nutrient Use Efficiency
Presented at the 2014 AFSA meeting

08 Feb 2013

Fertilizer Expenditure in the Australian Grains Industry
Summary from ABARES Farm Input Surveys

08 Feb 2013

Fertilizer Use on Australian Dairy Farms
Dairy Australia Survey 2012

07 Feb 2013

Regional Nutrient Budgets for Australia.
Summary of a presentation made at the ANZ Soils Conference.

16 Feb 2012

P Nutrient Removal and Replacement

Interpretive Summary

Using data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics, a third set of data on nutrient use and agricultural productivity was collated to provide regional estimates of nutrient balance for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and sulfur (S) across Australia. The results add to earlier data sets giving three audit periods.

This project continues the ongoing work of the IPNI-ANZ program to develop and present nutrient use and removal data from Australian agriculture.

This research continues as part of the on-going activities in Australia. Using data from the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) fertilizer use by crop statistics and production and land use data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the partial nutrient balances for N, P and K for Australian cereal, oilseed and pulses were published through the Global Partnership in Nutrient Management in 2015.

Understanding the nutrient balance within agricultural systems is an important component of the assessment of long-term sustainability. The data sources to undertake audits are disparate and poorly matched spatially and temporally, and they are not disaggregated by region or use.

This project has collated additional fertilizer use data using information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics farm practices surveys. This collects small area (down to local government areas) data by industry and nutrient, and is reported every four years. The objective of this analysis is to estimate nutrient use by industry and region - as such data is not currently widely available.

The amounts of N, P, K, and S applied as fertilizers and removed as agricultural commodities were calculated using the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data for 2007-08 and 2009-10 for all Australian Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions. The mass of P in commodities was 43 and 50% of the mass applied as fertilizers in 2007-08 and 2009-10 (with respective national net inputs of 190 and 170 kt P). Regions with (commodity P)/(fertilizer P) < 0.

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Updates & Reports


2015 Annual Report


Phosphorus Balance by Australian NRM zone


Project Description

Beef cattle grazing on rainfed pastures

Project Leader

Robert Norton

Project Cooperators


IPNI Staff

R. M. Norton


Oceania \ Australia and New Zealand \ AUS


4r place, nutrient removal

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