Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Conference Title

In proceedings of the 36th National Australian Fertiliser Services Association Conference. Vines Resort and Country Club, Upper Swan, Western Australia; 6-8 August 2008.


Nutrient management, nutrient balance, soil testing, fertiliser, phosphorus


Agriculture | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Monitoring | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Soil Science | Sustainability | Water Resource Management


Nutrient management is as much a global issue as a local one with a balance required between economics and environment, inherent biological limitations and expectations of nutrient use efficiency, and traditional fertiliser practices and actual enterprise nutrient requirements. The concept of nutrient balance depends on context and scale. Nutrient balance can be considered at a global scale, where issues of nutrient stocks, cycles, depletion and transfer of a particular element are important. For a single farm enterprise, nutrient balance might be considered in terms of phosphorus (P) inputs into and outputs from the enterprise. This is commonly known as a farm-gate nutrient balance, where the difference between inputs and outputs is nutrient surplus, and the conversion of inputs to outputs is nutrient use efficiency. Equally, a farm might consider nutrient balance in terms of the balance of nutrients within a particular soil, paddock, or crop where some nutrients are in sufficient supply and others are deficient. This paper will consider these aspects of nutrient balance, and will indicate where these imbalances exist as a basis for improvement.