ARCHIVE: Fertiliser Manual (RB209)

The Basis of Good Practice


Reliable information

  • Soil type 
  • Field cropping, fertilising and manuring history 
  • Regular soil analysis for pH, P, K and Mg 
  • Nutrient balances - surplus or deficit from applications to previous crops 
  • Soil analysis for soil mineral nitrogen 
  • Winter rainfall 
  • Crop tissue analysis where appropriate (e.g. for fruit crops and for sulphur and potassium on grassland)

Correct decisions on on-farm economic optimum crop yields and the requirement for applied nutrients

  • Take account of fertiliser nitrogen and crop produce prices 
  • Consider market requirements for quality and quantity of harvested produce 
  • Consider adjusting phosphate and potash for yield level

Assessment of available nutrients from organic manures

  • Apply manures in spring if possible, and incorporate rapidly into the soil following broadcast application to tillage land 
  • Make use of manure analysis (on-farm and laboratory testing) 
  • Calculate available nutrients based on manure type, method and time of application

Decisions on the rate, method and timing of fertiliser application for individual crops

  • Apply nitrogen to meet periods of greatest demand for nitrogen 
  • Consider placement of fertilisers for responsive crops

Careful selection of fertilisers

  • Consider the cost effectiveness of alternative fertiliser materials 
  • Take account of the nutrient percentage and the availability of nutrients for crop uptake 
  • Make sure that the physical quality of the fertiliser will allow accurate spreading

Accurate application of fertilisers and manures

  • Regularly maintain and calibrate fertiliser spreaders and sprayers 
  • Regularly check and maintain manure spreaders

Record keeping

  • Keep accurate field records to help with decisions on fertiliser use

Manual gives information for all of the above stages, including a list of sources of other useful information.

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