ARCHIVE: Fertiliser Manual (RB209)

Checklist for Decision Making

Decisions for fertiliser use must be made separately for every field. Where more than one crop is grown in a field, these areas must be considered individually.

  1. Confirm the crop to be grown and the intended market. Identify any crop quality requirements for this market.
  2. Identify the dominant soil type in the cropped area (see page 86 and Appendix 1).
  3. Carry out soil analysis for pH, P, K and Mg before planting and every 3-5 years (see page 35). Target values to maintain when growing fruit, hops or vines are:
    Soil pH 6.0-6.5 (6.5-6.8 before planting),
    Soil P Index 2, K Index 2, Mg Index 2
    Cider apples respond to soil K Index 3 and Mg Index 3.
  4. For new plantings and young plantations, identify the SNS Index of the field either by the Measurement Method or by the Field Assessment Method (see pages 95 and 86). SMN analysis is recommended where nitrogen residues are expected to be large (e.g. following previous organic manure use or crops receiving high rates of nitrogen fertiliser).
  5. Calculate the nutrients that will be available for crop uptake from organic manures and green waste composts that have been applied since harvest of the previous crop, or which will be applied to the crop being grown (Section 2). Deduct these nutrients from the recommended rates given in the tables.
  6. Use regular tissue and fruit mineral analysis for mineral elements to help make fertiliser decisions (see pages 166 and 168). Soil levels are not always reflected in the nutrient concentrations in leaf and fruit.
  7. Decide on the strategy for phosphate, potash and magnesium use. This will be either building up, maintaining or running down the soil Index levels (see pages 38-41). Allow for any surplus or deficit of phosphate, potash or magnesium applied to previous crops.
  8. Using the tables, decide on the required rate of each nutrient then find the best match for these applications using available fertilisers. Decide on the optimum times for fertiliser application (see page 102).
  9. Check that the fertiliser spreader or sprayer is in good working order and has been recently calibrated (see page 49).
  10. Keep an accurate record of the fertilisers and organic manures applied


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