Mounting financial uncertainty created by Brexit is reinforcing the need to maximise efficiency across every aspect of agriculture and the crop nutrition sector is at the forefront.
Fertiliser accounts for a significant proportion of crop production costs and, together with soil health, has a direct bearing on yields and profits. Whatever happens politically, margins for UK farmers are likely to remain tight so it is essential we extract the most from every input and every acre farmed.
There’s no “quick-fix” though and what’s right for one business may not suit another. Careful planning is key, whether that’s a single crop plan focussed on one season, or a longer-term whole-farm strategy for 5-10 years.
Soil quality and the interactions with crop nutrition have never been more important and improving aspects such as organic matter and structure offers big benefits for nutrient availability.
Selecting the most appropriate nutritional products and timing applications correctly is also essential to maximise uptake efficiency and avoid unnecessary losses.
There’s a host of advice, technology, data capture and other services available to help with this, and the panel of crop nutrition speakers are ideally placed to offer guidance on the best farm practices in soil and nutrient management.
Phosphate is of particular interest due to its importance in crop growth, but also because of the environmental challenges associated with field losses.
Efficiency of phosphate use in agriculture is reasonably poor, with many growers applying it to stubbles in autumn. There are clear benefits from timing applications closer to peak crop demand in spring. We must also consider phosphate’s interactions with other soil nutrients – such as high calcium soils locking-up phosphate – which can inform future decisions.
Use the wealth of advice and services to maximise crop nutrition efficiency and put your farm in a stronger position in these uncertain times.
Mark will be chairing the Crop Nutrition sessions at The CropTec Show, sponsored by Yara
The seminars will include long and short-term nutrition strategies covered by Natalie Wood, also from Yara. Roger Sylvester-Bradley, head of crop performance, ADAS will talk about how to manage the efficiency of the valuable nutrient, phosphorus, and Ian Matts, farms director and agronomist, Brixworth Farming, will describe how he gets the best nutritional value and cost savings from growing cover crops, utilising digestate and other organic materials.