Banded application improves the recovery of phosphorus fertiliser in a temperate pasture sward containing red clover

Jonathan W. McLachlan1, Chris N. Guppy1, Richard J. Flavel1

1University of New England, School of Environmental and Rural Science, Armidale, NSW, 2351,


Phosphorus (P) fertiliser is commonly broadcast onto existing pasture swards for ease and cost of application. However, improvements in P acquisition efficiency may be achieved by banding fertiliser. Micro-swards of red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) were grown in intact sandy loam soil cores with a 33P-labelled fertiliser source. Dissolved P fertiliser was applied either to the surface or at a depth of 30 mm, to either small or large volumes of soil. Growth rates were modest and significant differences were not observed for shoot yield among treatments. However, shoot P content and P recovery were 37% and 35% higher, respectively, when P fertiliser was distributed across a larger soil volume when compared to concentrated points. Similarly, banded treatments increased recovery by 40% compared to surface-applied fertiliser. The results suggested that banded application of a low concentration liquid P fertiliser may improve the recovery of P fertiliser by pasture legumes grown in soil with a low phosphorus buffering index (PBI).


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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