AHDB has committed £95,000 to independently review information in the current Fertiliser Manual (RB209) as well as nutrient management research released since the eighth edition of RB209 was last published by Defra in 2010.
The findings of this review will feed into the first planned edition of the new successor guide to RB209 – the AHDB Nutrient Management Guide, which will be released in 2017.
AHDB will be working with a steering group of partners in the project, known as the UK Partnership for Crop Nutrient Management, to form the strategy for the project.
The steering group is supported by technical working groups for the arable, horticulture and livestock sectors. Farmers, growers, their representatives, manufacturers, agronomists and advisors have all contributed to the plan and are involved in the technical working groups.
Peter Kendall, AHDB Chairman, said the project represented a long-term commitment by AHDB to add value to levy-funded research and ensure UK farmers and growers have access to the latest evidence-based guidance.
He said: “In taking the lead on crop nutrition, AHDB is showing its ambition to deliver a world-class set of tools to farmers and growers. There are many challenges that UK producers face and by providing current, relevant data on crop nutrition, they will be better placed to make the decisions that will drive our industry forward.”
George Lawrie, farmer and steering group chair, said: “Crop nutrition is one of the key elements to optimising production in the field.
“As a farmer, I use all the tools available to ensure that I manage resources efficiently, in terms of soil, applications and plant health.
“And I’m not alone, over 68 per cent of farms have a nutrient management plan, a high proportion of them re-visit these resources year after year to continue to manage crop nutrition. Therefore, it is really important that we have the correct information to make these decisions.
“There had been no planned update of RB209 so I am really excited that AHDB is carrying out this review so we have more accurate data with which to make better management decisions in the near future.”
RB209 offers best practice guidance in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on application of mineral fertilisers, manures and slurries to crops and grassland. The guidance aims to maximise yields while keeping environmental impacts to a minimum. The data is also used to update Technical Notes in Scotland and tools such as PLANET and MANNER.
The current edition of RB209 will be hosted on the AHDB website from 5 June 2015.