Auto Trader Ltd
Farminguk
30 September 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


USA | 30 September 2016
Toolbox unveiled to help preserve agriculture in Utah County

Rex Larsen, a fifth-generation Utah County farmer, is facing issues that the previous generations didn’t have to worry about, namely, rapid urban development encroaching on farmland. His farm, he s...


China | 30 September 2016
Will big agriculture mergers impact smallholder farmers?

A tsunami-sized wave of corporate megamergers sweeping the agrochemical industry has the potential to reshape the landscape of global farming and food production. If approved, the multibillion doll...


USA | 30 September 2016
Morris farm works to rebound after beef recall

A Connecticut farm in the middle of a beef recall is giving refunds, and fighting to guarantee its reputation. Truelove Farms had one steer sent off to Adams Farm in Massachusetts in late July for ...


USA | 30 September 2016
Small dairy farm wins with robotic milking

Old English cheese recipes and high-tech production put Kenton County farmer on the menu. On a rainy day, Eddie Gibson sits outside his dairy barn near Walton looking out at his 130-acre farm. Surr...


Canada | 30 September 2016
Schumer continues push against harmful Canadian dairy rules

A push against Canadian protectionism harming O-AT-KA Milk and dairy entities has reached federa Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday that...



Trending Now

Viewed
Discussed


Top stories you may have missed
FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Farm subsidy payments funded by the UK taxpayer are being paid to millionai...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Labour will end the badger cull and prioritise ending bovine TB, Shadow Def...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A herd of rare White Park cattle could die out if its owners do not urgentl...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The UK government is "failing" to support farmers in the long-term accordin...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Retailer Co-op has announced that from May 2017 all of its bacon and lamb w...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Over 50 wildlife organisations have compiled a stock-take of all the UK's n...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

In the run up to the EU farm ministers meeting the agricultural sector have...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The RPA must iron out a number of problems that still exist with 2015 BPS p...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Tourism businesses in the countryside are being held back due to the uncert...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A 24 point action plan aimed at revitalising Scotland's sheep sector after ...


closeicon
Username
Password