Single and coastal superphosphates are equally effective as sulfur fertilisers for subterranean clover on very sandy soils in high rainfall areas of south-western Australia

Michael Bolland, J.S. Yeates, M.F. Clarke

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    Abstract

    To reduce leaching of phosphorus (P) from fertilised pastures to shallow estuaries in the high rainfall (>800 mm annual average) areas of south-western Australia, and to supply extra sulfur (S) for subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) in pasture, 'coastal superphosphate' was developed as a possible alternative P and S fertiliser to single superphosphate. Coastal superphosphate is made by adding phosphate rock and elemental S to single superphosphate as it comes out of the den before granulation. It has about 3 times more sulfur (S) and one-third the water-soluble P content than single superphosphate. Four long-term (5-year) field experiments were conducted in south-western Australia to compare the effectiveness of single and coastal superphosphate as S fertilisers for subterranean clover pasture grown on very sandy soils that are frequently S deficient after July each year due to leaching of S from soil. Seven different amounts of S were applied as fertiliser annually. Fertiliser effectiveness was assessed from clover herbage yield and S concentration in dried herbage. Fertiliser nitrogen was not applied in these experiments as this was the normal practice for pastures in the region when the research was conducted.Both coastal and single superphosphates were equally effective per unit of applied S for producing dried clover herbage and increasing S concentration in herbage. Previous research on very sandy soils in the region had shown that coastal superphosphate was equally or more effective per unit of applied P for production of subterranean clover herbage. It is, therefore, concluded that coastal superphosphate is a suitable alternative S and P fertiliser for clover pastures on very sandy soils in the region. The concentration of S in dried clover herbage that was related to 90% of the maximum yield (critical S) was about 0.20-0.35% S during August (before flowering) and 0.15-0.20% S during October (after flowering).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1117-1126
    JournalAustralian Journal of Experimental Agriculture
    Volume43
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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