New Nutrient Management Guide (RB 209) launched by AHDB

Date published: 20 June 2017

AHDB have taken on responsibility for the Nutrient Management Guide (RB 209) from DEFRA with the aim of increasing uptake and accuracy of crop nutrient management. As part of this change George Mathers, CAFRE; Dr John Bailey, AFBI; Kieran Lavelle, CAFRE; Dr Norman Weatherup, CAFRE and myself were asked to represent the views of N. Ireland agriculture on the steering group, the horticulture working group, the grassland working group, and the arable working group committees respectively.

RB209 Sec5 cover

These groups met five times over the last two years to agree ways to improve the practicality of the guide, incorporate new research findings, and identify knowledge gaps to target with future research.  

A comprehensive review of trials data was conducted by a consortium led by ADAS to help inform the changes to the new version and these are available to download on the AHDB website.

The new Nutrient Management Guide (RB209) was launched at Grassland and Muck 2017 on 24 May and is available to download on the AHDB website.

Information and recommendations have been updated to reflect changes in farming and varieties and the key changes in each sector are highlighted below. Our involvement in the committees will continue working towards more frequent updates and as such any comments on the new guide can be forwarded to any of the N. Ireland representatives who can take these views to the working groups.

Key changes:-

Section 1 Principles of nutrient management and fertiliser use;

  • More concise information.
  • The risk of sulphur deficiency has been highlighted.
  • Guidance on building indices of P & K more rapidly.
  • Increased emphasis on soil sampling.
  • Guidance on when soil mineral nitrogen sampling can be more useful.

Section 2 Organic materials;

  • Includes instructional videos on sampling slurry and farmyard manure.
  • Provides information on the availability of sulphur from organic materials.
  • N, P and K nutrient content values for manures and slurries have been updated.
  • Nutrient content of digestate.

Section 3 Grassland and forage crops;

  • The grassland recommendation system has been revised and is now much more straightforward and easier to use. It is based on expected dry matter yield without linking to particular animal production systems (dairy, beef or sheep), milk yield, stocking rate or concentrate use.
  • Whole season nitrogen requirements and application sequences are provided separately for cutting and grazing situations.

Section 4 Arable crops;

  • Cereal recommendations have been revised and now include an optional adjustment based on expected yield.

Section 5 Potatoes

  • Updated determinacy groups.
  • Recommendation to apply sulphur where the risk of deficiency is high.

Section 6 Vegetables and bulbs

  • Recommendations for baby leaf lettuce, wild rocket, coriander and mint have been added.
  • Sweetcorn and leek recommendations have been revised.
  • Information on leaf nutrient analysis has been added.

Section 7 Fruit, vines and hops

  • Guidance on timing of nitrogen applications to blackcurrants and raspberries has been revised.
  • Information on leaf nutrient analysis for substrate grown strawberries has been added.

These changes will soon be reflected in the N.I. Nitrates Action Programme Guidance and also in CAFRE’s Crop Nutrient Calculator. Soil and soil fertility management are key components to farm productivity and this update will help N.I. farmers to optimise soil fertility, improve crop yields and minimise the loss of nutrients to water.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Follow us on Twitter @daera_ni.
  2. All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office or tel: 028 9052 4619.

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