Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality
REVIEW

Potential for foliar phosphorus fertilisation of dryland cereal crops: a review

S. R. Noack A , T. M. McBeath A C and M. J. McLaughlin A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, PMB 1, Waite Campus, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

B CSIRO Land and Water, PMB 2, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: therese.mcbeath@adelaide.edu.au

Crop and Pasture Science 61(8) 659-669 https://doi.org/10.1071/CP10080
Submitted: 5 March 2010  Accepted: 3 June 2010   Published: 13 August 2010

Abstract

Although not commonly used in dryland cropping systems to date, foliar phosphorus (P) fertilisation may allow a tactical response to prevailing seasonal climatic conditions, with the added benefit of reduced input costs at sowing. However, variable outcomes have been reported from field trials predominantly conducted in the USA, and to a lesser degree in Australia. The effectiveness of foliar P is dependent on soil P status, soil water status, crop type, fertiliser formulation and prevailing climatic conditions. This review argues that the potential of foliar P fertilisation in Australian dryland cereal cropping could be enhanced by altering formulations for enhanced leaf penetration using adjuvants, and by accurately assessing the responsiveness of sites before application. This review demonstrates that it is important to use appropriate techniques such as isotopic labelling, to measure the efficacy and mode of action of foliar formulations.

Additional keywords: adjuvants, efficacy, formulations, liquid fertiliser, nutrient management, uptake.


Acknowledgments

The authors thank the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Young Scientists and Innovators Grains Research and Development Corporation Award for providing funding to support this research program. Thanks to Ed Hunt for support in attaining this funding and to Greg Rinder for drawing figures. T. McBeath thanks the Australian Research Council and the South Australian Grains Industry Trust for the provision of salary during this time (Project No. LP0882492). The valuable comments of Dr Richard Simpson, Dr Anthony Whitbread and Dr James Stangoulis are gratefully acknowledged.


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