Manure

Managing nutrients effectively is crucial for our soils, crops, livestock and environment. There are many resources and initiatives available to help. 

Key resources include:

 

RB209 Nutrient Management Guide

NFU Tried & Tested

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones

Farming Rules for Water

International Fertiliser Society has published many useful technical proceedings over the years

 

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Nitrogen is required annually by most crops (except pulses) to achieve yield and quality. Judging how much N to apply is a key part of nutrient management.

Anglian Water is the largest water and water recycling company in England and Wales by geographic area. We supply water and water recycling services to almost seven million people in the East of England and Hartlepool.     

Nitrogen Use Efficiency is a widely used term increasingly discussed across industry and between farmers. However it can mean different things to different people, and is best defined with care.

Plants need around 12 essential mineral nutrients to grow: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg), Sulphur (S), Calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Boron (B) and Molybdenum (Mo).

The intricate web of relationships between physical, chemical and biological soil components underpins crop and livestock health and productivity.

ADAS are planning a Nutrition Challenge to compare the effect of different nutrition programmes on winter feed wheat yield, N uptake and gross margin, in the 2022/23 season. This is particularly timely following the recent dramatic rise in nitrogen fertiliser prices, which has forced the industry to re-examine nutrition strategies. Objectives of the project are to showcase good nutrition products and practices so that farmers are equipped and encouraged to use fertiliser better, for the benefit of the environment and their own gross margins.

We supply top quality drinking water to 2.2 million customers in the south east of England and work with farmers and landowners to protect and enhance river and groundwater quality.

Phosphorus (P) is an essential nutrient for both plants and animals, playing a key role in energy transfer as a major component of ATP. It is also vital in DNA. For full capture & conversion of solar energy, crop canopies need 30-40 kg/ha P. Crop species redistribute most of this P (~85%; more than for any other nutrient) to their seeds during canopy senescence, where it is stored as phytate. Plants appear to do this because, until their roots proliferate, plant seedlings are highly sensitive to P shortages.

Farmers, advisors and researchers working together to understand and improve crop nutrition on-farm

This page is to connect organisations, projects and resources that have an interest in improving the quality of our water sources.

Potash Development Association (PDA) is an independent organisation, formed in 1984, to provide technical information and advice in the UK and Ireland. It is supported by ICL UK Sales & Cleveland Potash Ltd who supply the fertiliser market with potash products.

Boron is an important micronutrient for plant growth.

NRM’s GrainCheck service was launched in 2020 following several years of work with ADAS on the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) project and to coincide with the RB209 recommendation for routine grain analysis. The test is suitable for cereals, oilseeds and pulses and should be interpreted alongside soil and tissue test results to give a full understanding of the effectiveness of crop nutrition programmes.

A range of products are commercially available that claim to enable more efficient nutrient uptake, allowing less nutrient to be applied as fertiliser.

YEN Nutrition brings together those wanting to achieve more precise crop nutrition.  High fertiliser prices now make this vital.  Assuming that 'crops know best' engagement in YEN Nutrition starts by benchmarking grain nutrients to show those that were limiting (or excessive) for each crop.

Share your ideas and experience of how to improve nutrient efficiency and reduce dependence on artificial fertilisers

Cover crops are grown primarily to ‘protect or improve’ soils between periods of regular crop production. They can be effective at improving soil functions by increasing soil nutrient and water retention, improving soil structure/quality, reducing the risk of soil erosion, surface run-off and diffuse pollution by providing soil cover and by managing weeds or soil-borne pests.  

GrassCheckGB is a grass monitoring project involving 50 dairy, beef and sheep farms.   Growth and quality data is published weekly throughout the growing season

Soil N Supply is the nitrogen available to the crop from soil during the season. It is the most important component of estimating a crop's nitrogen requirement.

Mercury Environmental Systems Ltd. is a commercial organisation developing value-added applications from space-based data. The company’s core offering is the provision of data to aid farming, ecological and environmental decision-making, which is produced via a crop model that is constrained by satellite data. 

Frontier Agriculture is the UK's leading crop production and grain marketing business, recognised for its close customer relationships with farmers and grain consumers and its successful management of the arable supply chain.

Focus Group from experts across 15 European countries discussing the development and adoption of digital tools to support nutrient management.

Compost tea is water in which compost has been steeped under either aerobic or anaerobic conditions.  Controversially, it is claimed to have beneficial effects when sprayed on crops, including enhanced growth and reduced pest and disease injury. 

Potassium is an important macro-nutrient for plant growth

A forum for technical information about all aspects of fertilisers and crop nutrition.

Calcium is an important micronutrient for plant growth.

Magnesium is an important macro-nutrient for plant growth.

Physical and online conference at Harper Adams Soil & Water Management Centre on 7th December.

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Annual conference of International Society Fertiliser at Robinson College, Cambridge, on 7-9 December 2022

Hill Court Farm Research Ltd offers independent research, consultancy and analytical services for agriculture, horticulture and the environment.

Navigate Eco Solutions are the developers of NavigatePro - a simple but comprehensive nutrient planning tool for advisers and agronomists.

Nutrient neutrality is a new issue of major importance to the UK. There are 74 planning areas in the UK where residential development has been held up until a solution is found to prevent absolute levels of P (reported as phosphorus not phosphate) and N (nitrogen) increasing in order to protect valuable habitats. The ruling is is often referred to as the "Dutch N" case. The calculation is complex and depends on the efficiency and any headroom of existing waste water treatment works (WWTW). WWTW are also to be subject to reductions in permitted nutrient emission in 2030.

Report from European Environment Agency giving over of the metrics, challenges and plans for measuring soil health across Europe.  

The 18th Recycling of Agricultural, Municipal and Industrial Residues in Agriculture Network (RAMIRAN) conference was a resounding success. See selected resources from the conference below.

This review investigates the importance of non-NPKS nutrients within cereal and oilseed rape prod

Tailoring nitrogen rates to optimise yield from modern spring barley varieties and hit the qualit

Our ADAS Crop Physiologists just debated Compost Tea and our views were varied. A key aspect of o

Links to the AHDB reviews which informed the 2016 major review of RB209 nutrient management guida

In February 2018, ADAS, AHDB and Defra launched the Grass and herbal leys farm network. The network is a partnership between farmers, researchers and industry and provides a platform to investigate the long term impacts of leys in rotations, such as: Quantifying changes in soil organic matter and soil health from introducing temporary grass/herbal leys across a range of soil types and rainfall areas. Quantifying subsequent changes to soil organic matter and soil health following the destruction of the temporary grass/herbal leys and return to arable production. Investigating the effectiveness of grass/herbal leys in controlling blackgrass in ‘problem’ fields.

Organic materials, including livestock manures, biosolids, compost and digestate contain valuable plant nutrients which can save farmers money on their fertiliser bills, and organic matter which can help improve soil quality.

For various EU projects and proposals we have collated a list of relevant tools and projects to nutrient management... Please join the Group to add more tools & projects below...

Manganese is an important micronutrient for plant growth.

Oats nitrogen and sulphur recommendations

Copper is an important micronutrient for plant growth.

Molybdenum is an important micronutrient for plant growth.

Bokashi is the Japanese word for “well-fermented organic matter”. Bokashi Manure Treatment is becoming increasingly popular, and involves microorganisms breaking down animal bedding and dung.  It is said to have many benefits, including increased nutrient content of manure and animal welfare improvements. But there is no published work which has shown clear evidence of the benefits of Bokashi manures to UK farmers, crops, soils or the environment. Two farmers in Scotland would like to run a field lab / on-farm trials to evaluate the potential benefits of Bokashi manure treatment on their farms, supported by Innovative Farmers.  As well as measuring the benefits, they are keen to trial the management process, and find out how easy it is to handle and spread the bokashi-treated manure compared with other manures, and to compare their carbon footprints.  The benefits Bokashi Manure Treatment is said to have a number of benefits, including: Improved health of housed animals; Lower odours; Drier bedding; Reduced incidence of flies; Reduced nutrient losses in the finished manure; Reduced manure management costs; Reduced carbon footprint associated with manure management.   Trial design The trials will take place on two farms over a three-year trial.  Animal bedding and dung in the housing will be sprayed with a liquid mixture of microorganisms (known as Effective Microorganisms or EM®) .  This will be provided by Agriton. Once the animals have been removed from the housing, the bedding and dung are taken out, mixed and covered with an impermeable membrane (usually plastic) and left for at least 6 to 8 weeks. The resulting dung can be used in the same way as dung produced by other means Manures made through the Bokashi process will be compared with those made using standard farming practice on both farms Basic soil testing and evaluation will be conducted at the start of the 3 year project (before application of the Bokashi manures/control manures) and at the end of the project. Discussions will also take place with other farmers and community farms in the Field Lab who will also be trialling the bokashi method, to draw on their experiences of using the process.

In October 2023 on behalf of AgriSearch, ADAS soil scientists conducted a full review of Nutrient Management Planning Tools (NMPTs) available for forage crops in Northern Ireland.

The Nutrient Management Guide (RB209) helps you make the most of organic materials and balance the benefits of fertiliser use against the costs – both economic and environmental.

Nutrient management can often be forgotten on beef and sheep farms, yet there is considerable scope to reduce costs and improve output through the use of home-produced and bought-in nutrients.

FAO guide from 2006 taking a global perspective on nutrient management. Preface:

HGCA Topic Sheet following the SNS Best Practice project 2012

Estimating soil nitrogen supply (SNS) is an important step in nitrogen (N) decision-making for

Ahead of the imminent RB209 update, AHDB has invested in several projects on nutrient management

This list of R&D projects relevant to nutrient recycling and nutrient management is published

(Originally printed in Direct Driller Magazine Issue 16)

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