Mycorrhizal inoculants for cotton: Doing less with more

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    This study investigates the value of mycorrhizal inoculants for cotton production in southern NSW. Cotton seeds were inoculated with one of seven commercially available mycorrhizal products at three times the recommended rate (RR) and at twenty times RR for comparison with non-inoculated controls. Seedlings were grown under two nutrient regimes. Inoculated cotton plants were inspected for mycorrhizal colonisation after 6 weeks growth. However, although there was some colonisation of roots in some products at the higher rate, the extent of that colonisation was very low and inadequate to make a production difference in the seedlings. Additionally, soils were collected from adjacent field plots growing wheat, barley, canola, field peas and along the fence line to provide further assessment of the background mycorrhizal levels. An ex rice soil from Coleambally, NSW, was included as a known positive control. The colonisation of seedling cotton was significant in all cases and well above any colonisation achieved with commercial AMF inoculants. Of the winter crop species backgrounds, wheat was clearly superior and field peas least effective. Our assessment of the commercial inoculant products showed them to be ineffectual at both three times RR and twenty times RR outlined on the label. Management of crop rotations provides an alternative and more reliable means for boosting background mycorrhizal levels in the soil.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th Australian Society of Agronomy conference
    EditorsGarry O'Leary, Roger Armstrong, Liz Hafner
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    PublisherAustralian Society of Agronomy
    Number of pages4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    Event18th Australian Agronomy Conference 2017 - Mercure Ballarat Hotel & Convention Centre, Ballarat, Australia
    Duration: 24 Sept 201728 Sept 2017 (Conference website) (Conference proceedings)


    Conference18th Australian Agronomy Conference 2017
    Abbreviated titleDoing more with less
    OtherThe 18th Australian Agronomy Conference will be held at the Mercure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre, Victoria from 24-28 September 2017. The Australian Agronomy Conference is the meeting place for Agronomists; it supports research and the community of Agronomists by connecting Agronomy communities across Australia to each other.

    The theme for the 2017 conference is “Doing more with less”. A central plank of Australia’s productive output is agriculture, worth over AUD$13.6 billion exported annually. Agronomy is key to ensuring that farmland is productive across Australia’s diverse landscapes. Innovation in machinery and precision technologies, plant species and varieties, soil and plant management may allow the agronomist of today to successfully help agricultural producers thrive. These innovations are timely as the world deals with increasingly variable climates, environmental degradation, and a more developed global community that requires more diverse products from agriculture.
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