MEMBERS of CAFRE’s Cereal Business Development Gr-oups recently attended a
meeting held at Greenfields Fert-iliser.
At the meeting, Roger Sylvester-Bradley from ADAS discussed crop nutrition and the ongoing work the organisation is co-ordinating to improve the understanding of crop nutrition.
Fertiliser inputs account for
a significant share of crop production costs and contribute a large proportion of the carbon footprint for producing cereals so it is important that they are used efficiently.
Roger explained that small plot trials which had been the basis for trial work on crop nutrition for many years did not always translate into results in field practice. To get a better understanding a new approach is being used whereby data from farmers’ own field results, including soil analysis, leaf tissue analysis and grain nutrient content analysis, give a more accurate picture of what is happening under field conditions.
Northern Ireland farmers have previously been involved in grain Nitrogen Benchmarking through CAFRE and AFBI.
The new grain nutrient analysis will build on this by looking at a broader range of nutrients. ADAS is co-ordinating the collecting of this data on a UK wide basis through a new initiative YEN Nutrient Benchmarking.
Over the next year growers who are involved in the BDG programme will be given the opportunity to feed their field results into the programme and will have access to the knowledge gained on crop nutrition within the YEN Nutrient Network.
Following Roger’s presentation growers got a tour of the fertiliser bagging plant at Greenfields before returning home.
The business development group scheme is part of the NI Rural Development Programme and is funded by DAERA and the European Union.