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Responsiveness of wheat (Triticum aestivum) to liquid and granular phosphorus fertilisers in southern Australian soils

T. M. McBeath A B E , R. D. Armstrong A , E. Lombi C , M. J. McLaughlin C and R. E. Holloway D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Primary Industries, Natimuk Rd, PB 260, Horsham, Vic. 3400, Australia.

B Current Address: University of Adelaide, Soil and Land Systems, PMB 1 Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

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

D South Australian Research and Development Institute, Minnipa Agricultural Centre, PO Box 31, Minnipa SA 5654, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Soil Research 43(2) 203-212
Submitted: 27 May 2004  Accepted: 20 December 2004   Published: 1 April 2005


Recent field trials on alkaline soils in southern Australia showed significant grain yield responses to liquid compared with traditional granular forms of P fertiliser. However the advantages of liquid over granular P forms of fertiliser has not been consistent on all soil types. In order to better predict the soil types on which liquid P fertilisers are likely to have potential, a glasshouse trial was conducted to compare the responsiveness of wheat to both liquid and granular forms of P on a wide range of Australian soils. A granular P fertiliser (triple superphosphate) and 2 liquid fertilisers (phosphoric acid and ammonium polyphosphate) were compared at a rate equivalent to 12 kg P/ha in 29 soils representing many of the soil types used for grain production in Victoria and South Australia. Wheat biomass was enhanced by P application in 86% of the soils tested. In 62% of the P-responsive soils, wheat dry matter was significantly greater when liquid P fertilisers were used compared with the granular form. Chemical analysis of the soils tested showed that the better performance of liquid P forms was not correlated to total P concentration in soil, P buffer capacity, or P availability as measured by Colwell-P. However, there was a significant positive relationship between calcium carbonate (CaCO3) content of soil and wheat responsiveness to liquid P fertiliser.

Additional keywords: liquid fertilisers, fluid fertilisers, phosphorus, alkaline soils, wheat.


The authors thank the Grains Research and Development Corporation (Project No. CSO231), the South Australian Grains Industry Trust, and the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation for providing funding to support this research programme.


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