Review set to bring latest nutrient management research to farmers

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ADAS has been awarded £98,000 to independently review nutrient management information as part of AHDB’s drive to bring the very latest in nutrient research to UK farmers.

The award follows the announcement made in June that AHDB will lead on the revision of the current Fertiliser Manual (RB209). All relevant sources of information, including the latest edition of RB209 (published by Defra in 2010) and recent research results, will be considered as part of the nine-month review. The new activity forms part of an ambitious programme of work, being overseen by an AHDB-led UK Partnership for Crop Nutrient Management, which looks to publish a new nutrient management guide as early as 2017.

George Lawrie, Partnership Chair, said: “There are around 40 organisations involved in the revision. It is essential our Partnership is inclusive, as organisations involved in nutrient management research can help us both access nutrient management information and form robust recommendations that will benefit growers.”

The review involves a team of experts based at some of the UK’s leading research organisations. The ADAS-led consortium includes NIAB, Warwick Crop Centre, East Malling Research, PlantNutrition Consulting and Bangor University. The review process has been designed to deliver results in a format that can feed directly into fresh nutrient management guidance.

Focused on both crops and livestock, the review is structured around six distinct work packages:
1. Principles of crop nutrient management – to provide a solid knowledge foundation for nutrient management
2. Organic materials – to improve the quality of information on dry matter and nutrient values for a wide range of organic materials
3. Grass and forage – to address the applicability of current data for grazed and cut grass and to improve recommendations for forage crops
4. Cereals and oilseeds – to revise recommendations for nitrogen, sulphur and micronutrients
5. Potatoes – to evaluate nitrogen requirements (based on potato determinacy/variety) and to assess offtake values for potassium and phosphorus
6. Horticulture – to review the crops considered and to improve nitrogen recommendations for field vegetables, sweetcorn, leeks, baby leaf salad and field grown herbs. The review will also cover crop uptake and offtake information, as well as nutrient requirements of crops grown in soilless substrates

With a new nutrient management guide potentially only two years away, the Partnership is supported by technical working groups for arable, horticulture and livestock to oversee the rapid development of nutrient management messages.

In addition to the publication, the Partnership is also looking at ways for data to be accessed by digital nutrient management services, including free-to-use PLANET and MANNER-NPK software and commercial farm management software.

To access the current edition of the Fertiliser Manual (RB209) or to find out more, visit

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