Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE) is a measure of how effectively plants utilise nutrients from the available sources in their environment. It is a critical factor in agriculture, as it determines nutrient uptake relative to the total amount applied or available in the soil.
For plants, NUE is typically expressed as the ratio of how efficiently plants are absorbing and utilising nutrients to produce biomass and yield. Higher NUE values indicate better nutrient utilisation and reduced environmental losses, which can lead to increased crop productivity and lower input requirements. Factors such as soil moisture, temperature, management practices, biology and nutrient characteristics can influence NUE. Research suggests the uptake efficiency of traditional fertilisers can be as low as 50% for nitrogen, 10% for phosphorus, and 40% for potassium in typical agricultural conditions (Baligar et al. 2007). When soluble nutrients are not utilised, they are often lost to volatilisation and leaching, resulting in significant agricultural costs both financially and environmentally.
Australian Mineral Fertilisers have developed a range of Grow Safe® mineral & microbial fertilisers, manufactured in Tenterden, WA. Independent NUE trials have identified that the combination of Grow Safe® minerals & microbes greatly improves both plant tissue uptake and overall NUE. Barley trials in Gairdner showed Grow Safe® products had a 53.9% phosphorus NUE, compared to 18.1% on the standard practice. The trial also identified greater phosphorus uptake in the plant tissue with Grow Safe®, yet with less than half the applied phosphorus than the standard practice (6.3 units vs 16.0 units). Grow Safe® enhancements to NUE are achieved through building plant root biomass and surface area with the addition of comprehensive trace elements and soil biology. Mt Madden trials highlighted an average root-shoot biomass ratio of 50.5% with Grow Safe® compared to 26.9% on standard practice, and surface area of 890cm² compared to 360 cm². Grow Safe® mineral fertilisers are fortified with over sixty trace and ultra-trace elements such as zinc, cobalt, molybdenum, manganese, selenium and rubidium. Grow Safe® microbial coatings include Mycorrhizal and Trichoderma fungi, Bacillus and Pseudomonas bacteria to facilitate nutrient storage and uptake.
Grow Safe® minerals & microbes are available as a standalone product, NueGen, or pre-blended with NPK products to make the Grow Safe® Cropping, Pasture and Horticultural range of fertilisers.