Constraints to nodulation and N2 fixation of pulses on acid soils of the south-east Australian high rainfall zone

Mark R. Norton1,2, Helen Burns1, Peter Tyndall1, Laura Goward3 and Mark B. Peoples3

1 Agricultural Institute, Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2650, Australia,,,
2 Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Locked Bag 588, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia.
3 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia


This project aimed to identify factors limiting nodulation, N2 fixation and productivity of pulse crops grown on acidic soils in the high rainfall zone (HRZ) southern grain production region. To assess the extent and nature of limiting factors 45 commercial pulse crops, across a region extending from Woodstock in NSW to Frances in the Lower South-East of SA, were surveyed.  The survey assessed the level of nodulation and N2 fixation achieved from a range of stunted and vigorous pulse crops. Differences in crop biomass and N2 fixation were associated with seasonal variability while soil subsurface acidity was a major and widespread constraint to nodulation. Sixteen site/season combinations from SW Victoria and the Lower South-East SA are examined in greater detail to illustrate the complexity associated with pulse productivity and N2 fixation.



The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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