20 - Optimising fertiliser
The application of fertilisers to pastures in the high rainfall regions of southern Australia has contributed to large increases in carrying capacity following the widespread adoption of the practice since the late 1940s. Recently, large shifts in the worldwide demand for fertiliser inputs have lead to large rises in the cost of fertiliser inputs. These increasing costs have significant potential ramifications on the future management of soil fertility and its interaction with the persistence and profitability of sown pastures, especially during periods of climatic uncertainty.
A dynamic pasture resource development simulation model was used to investigate the implications of fertiliser rates and costs on the efficient management of soil fertility under climatic uncertainty. The framework also allowed the investigation of how the management of soil fertility interacts with the utilisation of pasture resources through different stocking rates. In the application of this method to the Cicerone Project farmlets case study, fertiliser input costs were found to influence the optimal combination of fertiliser inputs and stocking rate. Analyses of the dynamic interaction between fertiliser application and cost, stocking rate and the persistence of desirable species enabled the identification of the most risk-efficient strategies. The implications for grazing industries in the high rainfall regions of southern Australia are discussed.
Simulating the impact of fertiliser strategies and prices on the economics of developing and managing the Cicerone Project farmlets under climatic uncertainty
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