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  • Writer's pictureHannah Van Houweninge, Farmacist Extension Agronomist

Foliar sampling as a nutrient management strategy

Fertiliser management is an essential practice in sugarcane production. Product selection, timing of application, rate, and placement are all important aspects to fertiliser efficacy and good productivity.


As a grower, how do you make these management decisions to deliver adequate quantities of nutrients to the crop to maximise the yield in the most economically feasible way?


One strategy that could help you evaluate the effectiveness of your nutrient management plan, and help you make sound decisions about your nutrients is introducing foliar (tissue or leaf) samples to your whole farm planning.

Firstly, it’s important to note that foliar sampling should not be considered a replacement for your soil sampling program, rather it is a complementary addition to enhance your soil sample results. Soil sampling focuses on predicting your soil’s ability to supply nutrients while foliar sampling is a diagnostic tool providing a snapshot of your crop’s nutritional status at a certain time.


Leaf analysis can:

  • Identify nutritional issues in problem areas of your crop.

  • Verify the effectiveness of your fertiliser program. (Sugar Research Australia, 2013)

  • Identify nutrient deficiencies that occur within the crop mid-cycle.

  • Assess whether paddock conditions are causing nutrient deficiencies where a soil analysis shows no issues (e.g., waterlogging preventing nutrient uptake).

This is an extract from the full article that was published in the Winter 2023 issue of Farmacist News. To read the full article, download the printable version using the link below:


Foliar sampling as a nutrient management strategy HVH Feb 2023
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