17 July 1998

Gear N to crop

for best results

MANAGING nitrogen inputs to avoid environmental problems is proving far easier for growers using Independent Agricultures Solomon N testing kit.

Consisting of soil water samplers and a gadget to measure nitrate levels in soil water, the kit is proving popular with farmers under environmental pressures, such as those in nitrate vulnerable zones.

Most of the 150 kits on farms are being used by field vegetable growers, IAs Vince Dempsey told open day visitors. But their use is also moving into broad acre crops.

"We know it works. Accuracy is within 5% of laboratory tests," Mr Dempsey claimed.

Key benefit of the system is gearing N use to crop need more accurately, rather than boosting output or reducing fertiliser use. "But most people using Solomon would say they had reduced nitrogen use by 10%," Mr Dempsey noted.

Cost of the kit is £550, with each sample costing 25p to analyse.