A banana nutrient trial to determine the best use of nitrogen fertiliser has begun its first harvest in Far North Queensland. The three year trial is being run by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in partnership with the banana industry and saw its first bananas planted in January at the Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture research station at South Johnstone, with three commercial operations also being used as trial sites.
The three year trial is looking at current nitrogen fertiliser use in commercial banana production systems and comparing this with new minimum standard application rates. It is hoped to assess how these rates effect production, profitability and the environment.
The three commercial trial sites are located at Bartle-Frere, Tully and Innisfail and each have different soil types. Each season 200 plants will be harvested from each site- 100 grown in accordance with the individual producer's usual practices and 100 using a fixed rate of fertiliser.
DAF Development horticulturist Curtis Lanham said that growers were pleased that the trial was taking place on commercial properties as this ensured that the everyday realities that growers face are built in.