Funding committed to improve nitrogen use efficiency

The Commonwealth Government recently announced almost $6 million in funding to improve the nitrogen use efficiency in the cotton, dairy, horticulture and sugar industries.

PICCC was instrumental in brokering the dairy aspects of the collaboration, working with Dairy Australia and scientists from UM to ensure the project proposal leveraged off the extensive work already completed in this area by Professors Deli Chen and Richard Eckard and their respective teams.

The dairy component of the successful bid was an indirect outcome of the PICCC Science Think Tank event in July 2012 on ‘Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency’. Following discussions at the Think Tank, PICCC worked towards a collaborative, nationally coordinated research program to improve nitrogen use efficiency across the cropping, grazing, fertiliser and intensive animal industries. The funded project also builds on significant collaborations developed through the National Nitrous Oxide Research Program, which included key researchers in dairy, horticulture, sugar and cotton.

The collaboration is funded through the second round of the Rural R&D for Profit programme, and will be led by the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), in partnership with Dairy Australia, Sugar Research Australia and Horticulture Innovation Australia. An additional 15 research organisations are involved in the project, including UM.

The research aims to improve the nitrogen productivity of 600 irrigated cotton growers; the profit of 500 dairy farmers; the yield of sugar growers; and the yield, fruit quality, storage and pack-out for 400 cherry and 650 mango growers. It will also help all four industries to mitigate the impact of off-farm nutrients on water quality.

For more information on the project, visit the CRDC website.