RRRD049 Progress Updates

November 2012

Science Summary:

-   Soil samples to 0.9 m depth collected on 13/06/2012 to coincide with mid-bunch banana harvest.

-   Plant nutrient concentrations were intensively monitored on 7 dates (from 11/11/2011 – 3/02/2012). Statistical analysis of the data showed no significant differences between treatments.

-   The lysimeter system has operated effectively during the period with deep drainage samples collected on 12 occasions and analysed. Nitrate-N concentrations were generally low (range 0.4 - 1.9 mg N/L) with little difference between the N fertiliser treatments. These results are consistent with the drawdown from high initial concentrations of nitrate-N in the soil. Concentrations of ammonium - N (0.01 mg N/L) and K (0.5 - 1.2 mg K/L) were low.

-   Bunch emergence dates and psuedostem heights were recorded by 3/04/12, with finger and hand counts completed by the end of April 2012. All bunches were harvested by 27/07/12, and measurements done of dehanded and pulp length of fruit to determine percentage of hands and weights of hands across pulp length.

-   Destructive sampling of 3 plants at bunch harvest stage was completed on 5/06/2012. The average total plant fresh weight was 116 kg and uptake of nutrients was: 288 kg N/ha, 35 kg P/ha and 1247 kg K/ha. These data are being used to calculate a partial nutrient budget.

Progress Update:

-   EnviroSCANs are being used to upload soil moisture data automatically to monitor deep drainage from irrigation and rainfall.

-   Fertiliser application has been changed so that with the exception of the porous bags treatment, nutrients will be applied over the entire mound, either broadcast or through fertigation chambers.

-   Article containing background information on the project and trial site was published in the August edition of Australian Bananas.

-   An article featuring the trial was published in the July edition of the Tropical Banana News.