advisor

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

What routes do we have to improving nutrient management?

  • Reducing nutrient demand
    • grow crops & varieties with low nutrient requirements
  • minimise losses from soil
    • cover crops to reduce leaching of nitrate over-winter
    • minimise soil runoff
  • Make the most of manures
  • Estimate nutrient requirements, accounting fully for crop demand and nutrient availability
  • Apply fertilisers accurately
  • improve fertiliser recovery
  • consider using Enhanced Efficiency Fertilisers
  • Consider foliar nutrition

 

Add more to the list below and share your ideas and experiences

 

Related Organisations

Content below is from across the PEP community and is not necessarily endorsed by Stewards or by PEP

Connected Content

Foliar sprays can be more efficient than feeding crops via the soil: they can be more targeted, cheaper, and less environmentally damaging than soil-mediated crop nutrition.    But this is not always so: can foliar nutrition be made reliable ... to support sustainable crop nutrition?

Regenerative farming looks to optimise the use of the ecological system and environment, in order to benefit from the natural ecosystem services that they provide.

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.

Practical sustainable farming regardless of labels.

Tell us how you are improving your soils. Share useful resources, organisations and initiatives.

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).

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.

Agroecology is a holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture and food systems. Definition from FAO.

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

Analysing grain for all 12 nutrients can be an effective tool to improve nutrient management, providing information on crop nutrient status and nutrient offtakes.  It can indicate whether your crops are getting hold of the nutrients they need, or whether you can save on future fertiliser use.

Helping you protect your soil and improve its productivity.  AHDB's GREATSoils inititiative brings together practical information on soil management as well as links to soils research and knowledge exchange. Whether you need an introduction to soil biology or a detailed guide to improving field drainage, AHDB has information and guidance to support you. 

Review conducted by ADAS and funded by AHDB into how farmers should respond to the high fertiliser (& grain) prices experienced in 2022.

Some symbiotic or free-living microorganisms can fix inert di-nitrogen (N) from the air into reactive organic nitrogenous compounds.  Most biological N fixation (BNF) in farming systems occurs in the root nodules of legumes where rhizobium bacteria take photosynthates from the plant in exchange for fixing atmospheric N and returning ammonium or amides which the plant uses to form amino acids, proteins, etc.   Plants need more N than any other nutrient and N commonly limits plant growth in many ecosystems. 

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.

The 18th Recycling of Agricultural, Municipal and Industrial Residues in Agriculture Network (RAMIRAN) conference will be held in Cambridge, UK from 12–14 September 2023.  All sessions will be held in the heart of Cambridge at the Guildhalls and Corn Exchange.

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.

Guide explaining what Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) can do for your business. Catchment Sensitive Farming Advisers work with farmers to produce food in a way that protects water, air and soil; minimising losses and maximising efficiencies. Your CSF Adviser is locally based with an understanding of the challenges farmers face. They will work alongside you to take the latest advice and tailor it to best benefit your business.

A collaborative project conducted from 2010 to 2015 involved 17 partners from government, industr

Share information, knowledge, resources and experience on how we can improve crop perfomance (yield, quality and profitability) whilst reducing reliance on input, reducing impacts and improving environmental performance.

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.

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.  

Share resources, groups and projects that you've found helpful for soil management.

Fertilisers, especially nitrogen, give some of the biggest environmental impacts of any inputs, from both their manufacture and their application.  A range of innovative approaches are being developed to reduce the energy costs, greenhouse gas emmissions and waste associated with the production of fertilisers.

Iron is an important micronutrient for plant growth.  

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.

The Organic Research Centre (ORC) is the UK's leading independent organic research organisation. Changing the future of food and farming.

Magnesium is an important macro-nutrient for plant growth.

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

After four years acting as a 3rd party distributor of various software and hardware, and a highly experienced training school, In 2019, frustrated with existing drone-based, crop monitoring methods, they decided to develop their own smartphone app called "Skippy Scout".

Recording from session at Groundswell 2022 with summary below from Agricology

This Topic doesn't yet have a Stewarded summary, but connected groups, content and organisations show below. Click the 'Ask to Join' button if you would like to be a Steward for this Topic and provide a summary of current knowledge and recommend useful resources, organisations, networks and projects. "Like" this Topic if you would like to see it prioritised for providing a wikipedia style summary.

Evoponic has unique research-based technology for greenhouse and vertical farming growers using hydroponic systems. Our nutrients and biostimulants have been under continuous development since 2006, we currently sponsor two PhD researchers and are involved in several Innovate UK funded projects. 

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

Now in its 10th year, the CropTec show combines industry-leading exhibitors, the latest machinery and technology, networking and discussion opportunities as well as valuable updates on developments across the arable sector.    Tickets are free and available now by registering at www.croptecshow.com.

Prompted by conversations on twitter this page is to explore where rates of nitrogen on-farm can be reduced whilst soil organic matter levels and yields are increased, using regenerative agriculture practices.

Helping farmers profit, naturally.  Our mission is to support farmers in the transition to more sustainable, regenerative farming practices. 

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

Scientific paper setting out how GHG emissions from agriculture could be reduced through more efficient production and use of N fertiliser. Gao, Y., Cabrera Serrenho, A. (2023) Greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen fertilizers could be reduced by up to one-fifth of current levels by 2050 with combined interventions. Nature Food. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-023-00698-w  

Article on

AHDB Research Review 97 This is Part One of a two-part study to help cereal and oilseed

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

Scientific paper in New Phytologist by scientists at China Agriculture University and James H

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The fate of much of the nitrogen applied to crops or grass as fertiliser around the world is ulti

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Help us collate the knowledge sources, organisations and initiatives out there that are seeking to improve the farmed environment

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.

We help farmers grow naturally stronger plants, increase crop yields & immunity, and eliminate over-reliance on the use of harmful chemicals.   envirolizer® is a natural mineral plant growth enhancer and adaptogen.  It contains finely micronized and augmented natural calcite. Fully certified as organic input and fulfils the requirements of Demeter International as well as listed in the EU Input Lists. The farmers' ultimate solution for plant growth, made from 100% Natural Minerals.

Interest is growing in using legumes like lucerne or clover as a permanent understory to cereal crops to provide nitrogen through the season.

Manganese is an important micronutrient for plant growth.

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Projects and companies are looking hard at recovering nutrients from bio-wastes and by-products to produce organo-mineral fertilisers

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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.

The ADAS soils and nutrients team will share and discuss results from our recent cover crop research with Affinity Water, Anglian Water, and Portsmouth Water.

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.

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Marking a huge advance in improving crop health and nutrition worldwide, the Consortium for Preci

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Paper from 2010 AAB conference: Kindred, D. and Sylvester-Bradl

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