NEW, FREE government-funded software to help farmers cut pollution and boost profits will be launched at Cereals.

The PLANET Nutrient Management system is an electronic guide for farmers to help them get the most out of fertilisers while protecting the environment.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which put £500,000 towards its development, pointed out that diffuse pollution from fertiliser is estimated to cause more than £250 million of damage a year.

“This new programme will help farmers manage fertiliser and organic manure nutrients on their land more effectively,” said food and farming minister Lord Whitty.

“PLANET will also help farmers comply with Nitrate Vulnerable Zone rules.”

Agriculture is responsible for more than 40% of phosphates and 70% of nitrates in English rivers and waterways, said DEFRA.

For more information and to register for the software, which will be available free later this year, go to www.planet4farmers.co.uk.