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Fertiliser Essentials is a deep dive into the importance of fertiliser management to a successful farming enterprise. Whether your primary business is cropping, grazing, or horticulture... there is something for you. Whether you use manufactured or natural fertilisers... there is something for you. And whether you apply fertilisers using a tractor or a drone... there is something for you. Fertiliser Essentials is the quintessential reference work for fertiliser use in Australia in the early 21st Century. Beautifully designed and extensively referenced, it is a must-read for anyone working or interested in modern agriculture. In full colour and 224 pages.

Originally produced in the mid 1990s, Fertiliser Essentials is the fifth edition of this seminal publication. The fifth edition is divided into four sections:

  1. Soils and fertilisers
  2. Major elements
  3. Micronutrients and natural fertilisers
  4. Equipment, precision and calculations

The aims of the book are:

  • to give land managers a basic knowledge of the principles of fertiliser use
  • to show how these principles can be used in growing crops and pastures. The book covers some horticultural and viticultural topics, but these are not dealt with in detail
  • to examine the environmental effects of fertilisers
  • to briefly introduce alternatives to traditional fertiliser strategies.

Part 1 Soils and fertilisers

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Safety

Chapter 3. Understanding fertiliser terms

Chapter 4. Soil testing

Chapter 5. Healthy soils and nutrient management

Chapter 6. Acid soils and the pH connection

Chapter 7. Plant nutrition

Chapter 8. Possible crop nutrition problems

Part 2 major elements

Chapter 9. The major element Nitrogen

Chapter 10. Nitrogen in pastures

Chapter 11. Nitrogen for crops

Chapter 12. The major element Phosphorus

Chapter 13. Phosphorus for pastures

Chapter 14. Phosphorus for crops

Chapter 15. The major element Potassium

Chapter 16. The major element Sulfur

Part 3 micronutrients and natural fertilisers

Chapter 17. Micronutrients

Chapter 18. The micronutrient Molybdenum

Chapter 19. The micronutrient Boron

Chapter 20. The micronutrient Zinc

Chapter 21. The micronutrient Selenium

Chapter 22. The micronutrient Cobalt

Chapter 23. The micronutrient Copper

Chapter 24. The micronutrient Manganese

Chapter 25. The micronutrient chlorine

Chapter 26. The micronutrient Iron

Chapter 27. Naturally-derived fertilisers

Part 4 equipment, precision and calculations

Chapter 28. Application equipment

Chapter 29. Precision Agriculture

Chapter 30. Calculating fertiliser costs and rates

Chapter 31. Scenarios

Chapter 32. Nutrient program checklist


Appendix 1. Managing work health and safety (WHS) risks

Appendix 2. Relative tolerance of various crops and pastures to acid soils

Appendix 3. Relative tolerance of crops and pastures to soil salinity

Appendix 4. Fertiliser manufacturer product card

Appendix 5. Nutrient removal by crops#

Appendix 6 Legume inoculant groups

Appendix 7. Bout width and application rate

Appendix 8. Industry organisations

Appendix 9. Record templates

The basics

Agriculture finds a friend in fertiliser

What plants want

Acid soils and the pH connection

Nitrogen for quality

Phosphorus: the wonder drug

Other essential nutrients

Tests for nutrients

Choosing and costing fertilisers

Organic fertilisers

Fertilisers and soil health


Title Fertiliser essentials
Pages 224  
ISBN 9781742567839  
Catalogue number B494  
Year publishedFirst published 1998, this edition 2021          
Publisher NSW Department of Primary Industries  
Price $45.00AUD (inc GST)

Written by: Justine Baird and Matthew Notley, Tocal College

Editor: Jennifer Laffan, Tocal College

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    Click here to fill out the order form Cat No.L B494 - Price $45.00 Tocal College, CB Alexander Campus, Paterson NSW 2421