For the first time at the Grassland and Muck event, farmers will be able to bring along samples of manure and slurry for free testing.

They will be analysed by a research consortium that includes ADAS and uses a technique called NIRS (Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy).

ADAS principal research scientist Ken Smith says several manure samples need to be taken from different parts of the heap and mixed together in a clean bucket. Then a 1kg sub-sample needs to be taken from this and put in labelled plastic bag. For slurry, collect about 1 litre from a well-mixed tank or store and put in a secure plastic container.

The samples should then be brought to the ADAS stand at the Manure and Nutrient Management Centre for testing. Results will cover nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur and organic matter and will help farmers know exactly what nutrients their muck and slurry contains (and, therefore, how much they can reduce fertiliser applications).