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The development of a fertiliser recommendation system - IF0114

Description
The current ‘Fertiliser Recommendations for Agricultural and Horticultural Crops’ (often referred to as ‘RB209’ from its original coding as MAFF Reference Book 209) for use in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, describes the principles of crop nutrition and gives recommendations for the best use of lime, fertilisers and organic manures for field crops and grassland. It has been produced for use by agricultural consultants, land managers, farmers and their agents, and all other organisations concerned with developing and maintaining a sustainable agricultural industry. It is based upon information available from research and development work carried out by many organisations, including levy boards, fertiliser companies and consultancies.

The Fertiliser Recommendations were last revised in 2000, when the 7th Edition was published. This was, in many ways, a radical revision of previous versions, especially with respect to the N recommendations and the use of manures. In preparation for a new and essential revision of the system, ADAS has carried out a market research exercise (Defra project KT0118) suggested a number of changes needed. Having assessed the report, Defra has asked the Cross-Institute Programme for Sustainable Soil Function (SoilCIP, which brings together research into soil science at Rothamsted Research and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research) and HRI-Warwick to conduct a thorough revision of the Fertiliser Recommendations, collaborating with other organisations as necessary. The project will:

Develop a guidance document that:

i. Provides guideline recommendations on macro-nutrient inputs (e.g. N, P, K, S, Mg, Na and lime) to meet crop requirements in relation to a wide range of agricultural and horticultural crops and grass including biomass and biofuel crops.
ii. Provides supporting advice on nutrient management.
iii. Provides supporting technical information.
iv. Is in a user-friendly format that can be readily updated on an annual basis.

In doing so it will use a process that is transparent and inclusive of a wide range of internal and external stakeholders, produce a series of technical papers and a final report for peer review to ensure transparency of the recommendations.

Finally, it will support the launch and publication of the new fertiliser recommendation system by Defra.
Objective
The overall aim of this project is to develop a thoroughly revised fertiliser recommendation system for Defra. The revised system will be delivered as a guidance document for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The key objectives of the project are to:

01. To develop a guidance document that:

i. Provides guideline recommendations on macro-nutrient inputs (e.g. N, P, K, S, Mg, Na and lime) to meet crop requirements in relation to a wide range of agricultural and horticultural crops and grass including biomass and biofuel crops.
ii. Provides supporting advice on nutrient management and reducing losses to the environment.
iii. Provides supporting technical information.
iv. Is in a user-friendly format that can be readily updated on an annual basis as appropriate.

02 To develop the above publication via a process that is transparent and inclusive of a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.

03. To produce a series of technical papers / final report:

i. That ensures transparency of recommendations.
ii. For peer review.

04. To launch and publicise the new fertiliser recommendation system.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Revision of the Fertiliser Recommendations for England, Wales and Northern Ireland   (242k)
• Final Report - Annex : Fertiliser Manual   (1408k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2006

To: 2008

Cost: £385,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rothamsted Research (BBSRC), Warwick - HRI, Institute of Grassland and Environment Research (IGER)
Keywords
Agriculture and Climate Change              
Allocated - WHRI              
Arable              
Arable Farming              
Crops              
Decision Making              
Decision Support Tools              
Farming              
Manures              
Potatoes              
Sustainable Production