23 June 1995

Fertiliser planning service launched

NEW fertiliser planning services and agronomic aids to boost farm profits and cut pollution have been launched by Hydro Agri.

This will ensure farmers make the most of an "essential and highly cost-effective input", says chairman Tony Robinson.

Recent official figures show fertiliser accounts for 12% of input spend but produces 40-60% of output. "In this scenario unplanned or panic cutting of fertiliser levels would be foolish."

A new fertiliser computer programme called Hydro Plan will be on offer this autumn. Recomm-endations for all main nutrients will be based on information like soil indices, pH, previous cropping, yields and straw use.

Recommendations can be tweaked by inputting results from the companys new soil sampler. This takes cores down to 120cm (3.9ft) to more accurately measure available soil N. "For nitrogen it is now generally accepted that you need to go down 60-90cm because it is so mobile in the soil," says Ian Richards of agent Levington Agriculture.

In uniform soils, a work rate of 50-60 samples an hour, enough for 50ha (125 acres) is claimed. The service will start next spring. &#42