A practical software tool that estimates the crop-available nitrogen, phosphate and potash from organic manures has been updated for 2013 and will help growers reduce their reliance on inorganic fertilisers and increase profitability.
The updated MANNER-NPK, developed and maintained by ADAS, will be available as a free download on the PLANET website or on CD and incorporates new research, improved usability and new features.
“This new and easy to use software will help farmers make quick and accurate assessment of different manure types spread under a range of circumstances and will calculate the value of manure nutrients based on up to date fertiliser prices,” says ADAS soil scientist Lizzie Sagoo.
The new version of MANNER only requires a few simple inputs such as farm location, soil, crop and manure type and its nutrient content (if available). Application rate, method and soil incorporation is also required. Where nutrient content of the manure isn’t available, the program uses a default figure of the manure type selected.
“The improved use of the manure nutrients will certainly reduce manufactured fertiliser use and will have the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from both the manufacturing process and from spreading,” adds Dr Sagoo.
The economic advantages are also something that growers cannot ignore, says James Holmes, knowledge and transfer manager at the HGCA. At current fertiliser prices pig muck is worth £10/t, cattle slurry £3.40/cu m and broiler litter £37/t.
“You cannot afford not to take full account of the nutrients in your muck and MANNER-NPK is a great tool to do that,” he points out.
The software will be available to download from January 2013.