Study level

  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Honours


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Associate Professor David Rowlings
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science


Optimising the application rates of organic amendments in agricultural soils is one of the most promising and practical solutions to reduce nitrogen (N) losses into the environment while maintaining an economically-adequate crop production.

Organic amendments alone often don't meet the crop's needs. Consequently, a supplementary application of N synthetic fertiliser is needed in conventional farming systems to meet perceived production needs.

Accounting for the amount of plant-available N (PAN) released by organic amendments and combining this with N-fertiliser will:

  • ensure N demands of crop systems are met
  • optimise the use of N
  • reduce potential environmental pollution through nitrous oxide emissions.

The aim of this research project is to investigate the mineralisation dynamics of different organic amendments (raw, composted). We will also investigate supplying mineral N to a crop system using different amendments.

Research activities

This project will be undertaken with the soils team within the Institute of Future Environments. You will benefit from a practical, hands on research experience with valuable insight into the research industry.

You'll have the opportunity to travel to one of Australia’s largest horticultural farms in the Lockyer Valley. At the farm you'll collect soil samples and visit the field experiement and in-field laboratory operating at the site.

At QUT's research facilities you'll sieve and mix the soil with the same organic amendments that are being tested at the field trial. These samples will be monitored for changes in mineral N and carbon dioxide emissions over a 28-day period to determine nutrient release.


The aim of this project is to assess the timing and rate of N release from organic amendments. Our research will further our understanding of how different organic amendments influences N mineralisation rates. These incubations will also quantify the loss of N through nitrous oxide emissions after application of this combined treatment.

Skills and experience

We'd prefer if you have any knowledge and/or experience in soil science.


Contact the supervisor for more information.