DEFRA has started reviewing its current guidelines for fertiliser use, following calls for urgent technical revisions in a recent ADAS report.
The ‘Fertiliser Recommendations for Agricultural and Horticultural Crops’ (RB209) was considered a useful document in the report, but many felt that changes were needed to reflect new research, changing economics and new higher-yielding varieties.
Farmers and industry organisations also thought there should be more flexibility for decision-making based on local information and experience.
DEFRA will consult farmers and technical experts during the revision process and expects to publish a revised fertiliser recommendation system in early 2008 (subject to the length and timing of research).
In the meantime, farmers are advised to continue using the current RB209 Fertiliser Handbook and take account of updates published on the DEFRA website, or seek advice from a suitably qualified (e.g. FACTS) adviser.
An interactive version of RB209 can be downloaded or ordered free via the PLANET website, www.planet4farmers.co.uk