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S. Australian potato industry receives over $400,000 in federal funding

Potatoes South Australia Incorporated, the peak industry body for the potato industry value chain, has been awarded funding of $409,800 (excl GST) through the Federal Department of Agriculture’s National Landcare Innovation Grants for a two year project which will help develop a more reliable soil Phosphorus test.

The project (which will be delivered by PIRSA’s consultancy business unit, Rural Solutions SA) will develop a more efficient method of soil testing to enable accurate prediction of soil Phosphorous status and availability. The project team will engage closely with Dr Sean Mason of the University of Adelaide, who has developed a new soil test 'Diffuse Gradient in Thin Films' (DGT). This test accurately measures what access to soil Phosphorous the plant has. The test has proven to be highly successful for a range of crops. However the DGT test is crop specific and no critical threshold has ever been developed for potatoes.

“The development of an accurate, robust test will enable producers to quickly and easily analyse their soils and apply appropriate rates of Phosphorous fertilisers, improving both their overall economic return and reducing off-site environmental impacts caused by over-fertilisation” Ms Davis added.

The project will involve a series of replicated field trials and demonstration sites across all the major potato growing regions in the state. Once the critical value for potatoes has been determined, a simple robust 'app' will be developed to enable producers to quickly calculate optimal fertiliser rates by simply adding their DGT test result and desired end yield. Whilst the field work will be conducted in South Australia, the results and critical value will be applicable nationally.

For more information:
Robbie Davis
Potatoes South Australia
Tel: +61 0427 084 319

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