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Visit the AHDB muck stand at Grassland and Muck 2011!


The first twenty-five farmers to bring a sample of muck or slurry to the AHDB stand each day will receive free infra-red scanning of their manure to discover its nutrient content.

The LINK project involving all the AHDB sectors has developed the successful near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) method, comments Potato Council crop nutrition specialist Gary Collins. This test could help growers reduce their exposure to volatile fertiliser costs by using this low-cost, effective option. Until now, relatively little organic manure has been used effectively.

It seems many farmers have been ignoring or underestimating the amount of nutrients supplied by manures.

Survey results have shown that just 4-7 per cent of farmers have any analysis of cattle farmyard manure (FYM) carried out, and only 13 per cent have dairy slurry tested.

Although growers can still use published estimates from the Crop Nutrition Guide for Potatoes and RB 209 8th edition, Mr Collins highlights that improvements can be made for field level, crop-specific recommendations. The new technique will provide farmers with a low-cost, simple and reliable alternative to conventional laboratory analysis.

Rather than days, this test takes minutes. Using this technique, a next-day service would be easily achievable, which should encourage farmers to analyse and make the most of organic manures, says Mr Collins.

If there is no need to build soil indices, adding nutrients above crop requirements is costly and can impact profit margins and the environment.

This cross-sector project has been well supported across the AHDB and we are very excited by the introduction of this new service. Details will be available shortly.

Visit the NIRS equipment in operation on the AHDB stand 904 at Grassland and Muck, on May 18 and 19 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire

Potato Council is a division of Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

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