CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Positive charge finding to change fertiliser management

The research in this article looks at the underlying assumption that soils in Western Australia (WA) are only negatively charged and so do not retain nitrate against leaching. It found that this is not based on scientific evidence.

It discusses how soils vary in terms of positive and negative charge between areas and within individual farms and how a positive charge, measured as an anion exchange capacity, will delay nitrate leaching.

The results discussed show that the most highly charged soil measured needed 12.5 times more water to displace nitrate than currently assumed.

The end result is that computer modelling tools and management advice for some soils in WA will need to be revised to allow for the occurrence of a positive charge in many soils.

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