GROWERS SEEKING simpler nitrogen advice can now get official guidance at the touch of a button, after the launch of an interactive CD from DEFRA and the Environment Agency.

Planning Land Application of Nutrients for Efficiency and Environment – more conveniently dubbed PLANET – takes the legwork out of nutrient management and record keeping, says project leader Peter Dampney of ADAS.

“PLANET is designed to make a pretty complicated subject as simple as it can be, taking account of all the traditional advice associated with RB209, without having to wade through lots of background material.”

The free software generates field specific recommendations, based on a range of data entered by the farmer, and retains the information to comply with legislative requirements and help guide advice in subsequent years.

Crop requirement is balanced with nutrient supply from organic manures, soil and fertilisers, leading to a nutrient and manure application plan for nitrogen, phosphate, potash, magnesium, sulphur, sodium and lime for arable and horticultural crops, plus grass.

The plan can be modified during the season and actual applications recorded.

Growers can currently register for the CD on-line at www.planet4farmers.co.uk. CDs will go out in mid-January, with the website providing details of training workshops.

With financial, environmental and legislative demands all driving growers to more precise nutrient use, PLANET is already popular, says Mr Dampney, with 1500 users already registered.