ARCHIVE: Fertiliser Recommendations for Agricultural and Horticultural Crops (DEFRA RB209)

ARCHIVE: Fertiliser Recommendations for Agricultural and Horticultural Crops



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The 8th Edition of RB209 (The Fertiliser Manual) is now available - Click here to view it


The Basis of Good Practice

SECTION 1. Principles of Nutrient Management and Fertiliser Use

The Need for Fertilisers
Understanding Soil Physical Properties
Soil Acidity and Liming
Nitrogen (N) for Field Crops
Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K)
Magnesium (Mg)
Sulphur (S)
Sodium (Na)
Trace Elements
Fertiliser Types and Quality
Fertiliser Application
Protection of the Environment

SECTION 2. Organic manures

Farm Manures
Farm Waste Management Planning
Estimated quantities of excreta and nutrients produced during the housing period.
Nutrient content of Farm Manures
Principles of Nitrogen Supply and Loss
Nitrate Leaching
Allowing for the Nutrient Content Farm Manures
Cattle, Pig, Sheep or Duck Solid Manures - Total available nutrients
Poultry Manures - Total Available Nutrients
Cattle Slurry and Dirty water - Total Available Nutrients
Pig Slurry - Total Available Nutrients
Using Farm Manures and Fertilisers together
Manure Applications
Sewage Sludges (Biosolids)
Sludges - Total Available Nutrients
Sludges - Heavy Metals
Industrial Wastes

SECTION 3. Using the recommendation Tables

Finding the Nitrogen Recommendation
Flow chart of how to Identify the SNS Index of a Field
Annual Rainfall in England and Wales
Finding the SNS Index using the Field Assessment Method
Finding the Fertiliser Recommendations for the Crop
Using the SNS tables when there have been no recent Grass Leys
Table A: Soil Nitrogen Supply (SNS) Indices for Low Rainfall Areas
Table B: Soil Nitrogen Supply (SNS) Indices for Moderate Rainfall Areas
Table C: Soil Nitrogen Supply (SNS) Indices for High Rainfall Areas
Using the SNS tables where a Grass Ley has been recently Ploughed out
Table D: Soil Nitrogen Supply (SNS) Indices following Ploughing out of Grass Leys
Finding the Phosphate, Potash and Magnesium Recommendations
Finding the Sulphur and Sodium Recommendations
Selecting the most appropriate Fertiliser
Calculating the amount of Fertiliser to Apply

SECTION 4. Arable and Forage Crops

Checklist for decision making
Wheat, autumn and early winter sown - Nitrogen
Winter Barley - Nitrogen
Winter Oats, Rye and Triticale - Nitrogen
Spring Wheat - Nitrogen
Spring Barley - Nitrogen
Spring Oats, Rye and Triticale - Nitrogen
All Cereals - Phosphate, Potash, Magnesium and Sulphur
Winter Oilseed Rape - Nitrogen
Spring Oilseed Rape and Spring Linseed - Nitrogen
Oilseed Rape and Linseed - Phosphate, Potash, Magnesium and Sulphur
Peas (dried and vining) and Beans
Sugar Beet
Forage Maize
Other Forage Crops
Ryegrass Grown for Seed

SECTION 5. Vegetables and Bulbs

Checklist for decision making
Fertiliser use for vegetables
Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage
Cauliflowers and Calabrase
Celery and self blanching celery
Peas (market pick) and Beans
Lettuce, Radish, Sweetcorn and Courgettes
Onions and Leeks
Root Vegetables
Bulbs and Bulb flowers

SECTION 6. Fruit, Vines and Hops

Checklist for decision making
Soil sampling for pH, P, K, Mg
Soil acidity and liming
Trace elements
Fruit, Vines and Hops - before planting
Top Fruit, Established orchards
Soft Fruit and Vines - established plantations
Leaf analysis for top fruit and soft fruit
Apple fruit analysis

SECTION 7. Grass

Checklist for decision making
Principles of fertilising grassland
Protection of the environment
Finding the Nitrogen fertiliser recommendation
Assessing the Soil Nitrogen Supply (SNS) status
Adjusting Nitrogen use depending on the Grass Growth Class
Adjusting Nitrogen use for weather during the growing season
Adjusting Nitrogen use using Soil Mineral Nitrogen (SMN) analysis
Finding the Phosphate, Potash and Magnesium recommendations
Grass establishment
Grazing by Dairy Cows
Grazing by Beef or Sheep
Grazing of Grass/Clover swards
Grazed Grass
Grass Silage

Other Useful Sources of Information

APPENDIX 1. Description of soil types
APPENDIX 2. Sampling for soil mineral nitrogen (SMN)
APPENDIX 3. Sampling for soil pH, P, K and Mg
APPENDIX 4. Classification of soil P, K and Mg analysis results into Indices
APPENDIX 5. Phosphate and Potash in crop material
APPENDIX 6. Sampling organic manures for analysis
APPENDIX 7. Analysis of some fertiliser and liming materials
APPENDIX 8. Conversion tables


7th Edition of the Fertiliser Recommendations for Agricultural and Horticultural Crops (MAFF RB209) Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, MAFF publications, 2000, ISBN 0112430589


Formatted for ADLib February 2004 replaces 2001 version found in EMA
Last Updated February 2004

Note: An interactive version of this document is available within the EMA Software Decision Support System. This approach to identifying the nutrient requirements is the standard system used for crops in England and Wales. A different but comparable approach developed by SAC is used for Scotland.


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