CropTec Show
Farminguk
24 August 2016 | Online since 2003
Less co2 Limited


20 March 2014 07:22:58 |

Nutrient management can improve farm profitability, research says


Large increases in the price of fertiliser and pressure on the agricultural industry to reduce its contribution to water pollution mean that making best use of nutrients has never been more important.
This was the focus of research conducted on farms across Conwy by scientists from the School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography at Bangor University. The findings have just been published in a leading academic journal, “Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment”.

The ‘CEFN Conwy’ project gathered data on soil quality, farm productivity and nutrient management on 50 farms over a twelve month period. This allowed the researchers to estimate accurately the nutrient requirements for those farms and whether changes could be adopted without reducing farm productivity.
Soil tests showed that many farms in Conwy had soils too acid for optimum grass growth (88% of the farms had a soil pH value of less than 6). This makes fertiliser applications less effective as nutrient uptake by grass is reduced. The results indicated that grass growth would be increased by applying lime which would allow farmers to reduce the amount of fertiliser used. Modelling of the results also showed that this would also reduce loss of nutrients to streams and rivers.

There is a potential down-side to application of lime, however. Carbon footprint calculations showed that liming soils to reduce acidity would result in increased emissions of greenhouse gases which cause climate change.
This is because of emissions from processing and transport of lime and its impact on the soil. The study therefore revealed an important policy dilemma: whilst it may be beneficial at the local level to lime soils (for increased farm profitability and reduced loss of nutrients), this may cause some negative environmental impacts at a wider scale.

The research also showed that none of the farmers were choosing to use any of the software tools that are freely available (e.g. MANNER-NPK) to help them plan their nutrient management. Reasons included a lack of awareness, competing advice from elsewhere, and the belief that adopting the same fertiliser regime every year seemed to work best.
However, the researchers recommend that farmers do start to use these software tools because, combined with regular testing of soil nutrient status, they can greatly increase the efficiency of nutrient use on farms, and so improve profitability.

Professor John Healey, who led the research, commented “making optimum use of manures and slurries, with the right environmental safeguards, so that there’s less need to apply bagged fertiliser can be a real win-win scenario where both the farm business and the environment benefit. The study showed that farmers in Conwy generally aren’t over-applying nutrients, but that productivity could be improved by liming, provided its environmental costs are carefully considered.”

Download

0 Comment

loginuserlogo
Name

Please enter your name


Email

Please enter your email

Please enter valid email


Comment

Please enter your comment


Post Comment

Your comment has been submitted successfully. Please wait for admin approval.


Comments

No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment


Canada | 23 August 2016
Drones are taking Ontario agriculture to new heights

Dr. Mary Ruth McDonald from the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph, said drones have become an important tool in a farmer’s toolbox in the last decade. "Even before that, peop...


Belgium | 23 August 2016
European study reveals dairy farm dust is stopping farm kids developing asthma

A Belgian study of European children growing up on dairy farms has revealed exposure to farm dust from an early age can prevent asthma. Researchers have tested the theory on mice, and found exposur...


Ireland | 23 August 2016
Tradition trumps technology at the marts

The traditional livestock trade continues to trump online selling. Despite the surge in digital buying across almost every industry, evidence suggests that farmers remain "on the fence" about the phen...


China | 23 August 2016
Shipping dairy cows to China is 'ecomomic treason', Winston Peters says

Dairy giant Fonterra has been accused of "economic treason" after shipping thousands of dairy cows from Timaru to China. However, the company says it is important to be realistic about the scale of...


USA | 23 August 2016
Flooding will cost state agriculture $110 million

Heavy rains that recently caused historic flooding in south Louisiana will cost the state’s agriculture industry at least $110 million, according to preliminary estimates from the LSU AgCenter. Tha...



Trending Now

Viewed
Discussed


Top stories you may have missed
FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The sustained recovery of pig prices since the spring has come at a time wh...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel has declared the Russian import ban ...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A new study has linked oilseed rape crops grown from neonicotinoid-treated ...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Philip Hammond is to guarantee billions of pounds of UK government investme...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Access to the foreign labour market is 'critical', according the chief exec...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The Tenant Farmers Association has said the National Trust's vision for a p...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Ulster farmers will 'not lie down and wave the white flag' when Brexit nego...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The cost of rural crime to the UK economy costs £42.5 million a year, accor...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A young farmers club member from Oxfordshire has created a petition on the ...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The farming sector has reacted negatively to a proposal to reintroduce the ...


closeicon
Username
Password