WITH a host of new fertiliser products and additives available to help get better efficiency rates farmers are being urged to get professional advice on what products will work best for them and whether the fertiliser they are investigating will live up to the claims made on the packet.
There has been huge growth in areas such as fertiliser additives, soil biology stimulants and other soil conditioning products in recent years as science helps unlock new gains in the field.
However, along with the legitimate new products there are also many new lines where the jury is well and truly out on their efficacy.
Stephen Annells, executive manager of Fertilizer Australia, said the products varied in terms of their efficacy, along with their suitability to different climatic zones and soil types and said farmers would benefit from speaking to Fertcare accredited advisors about whether fertiliser program changes will pay off.
Fertcare is an industry accreditation program where advisors are assessed against standards set by the Australasian Soil and Plant Analysis Council (ASPAC).
Mr Annells said it was good to see growers embrace new technology but said some assistance from industry experts could help them get the best return on investment and avoid purchasing products that do not work.
"New products that can make fertilizers more efficient are very appealing to growers because they have the potential to make fertilizer use more cost-effective and improve productivity," Mr Annells said.
"While innovations to improve soil and plant nutrition are very welcome, the pace of change in our industry is making it challenging for growers to effectively evaluate these new offers.
"That's why we're encouraging growers to see a Fertcare advisor this season."
"Talking to a Fertcare advisor can help growers stay informed about innovations in the fertiliser arena and make educated decisions about adopting these new products or sticking with their usual program," he said.
"We know fertilisers and soil ameliorants have a significant positive impact on productivity but that they are also a significant input cost, so it is important to keep a firm grip on the fundamentals when making any changes."
In recent years, growers have seen the introduction of nitrogen stabilisers, slow-release and controlled-release fertilisers, as well as bio-stimulants and inoculums to aid in the release of nutrients.
"Some of these products are certainly effective in providing nutrients to plants, either by directly supplying the nutrient element or improving the efficiency of uptake," Mr Annells said.
"Unfortunately, there are also many products that are unproven or of doubtful value.
"By working with a Fertcare advisor, growers can be sure they are considering new products using a scientific, evidence-based approach."