26 October 2001

WELL-N model helped cope with wettest winter

Clubroot control in oilseed

rape and nitrogen

management were two

topical issues to emerge at

last weeks Autumn

Vegetable Open Day at HRI

Kirton in Lincs.

HRI-DEVELOPED computer-based nitrogen prediction model WELL-N coped with the wettest winter on record and gave arable farmers an accurate idea of how much N needed to be applied for optimal yields.

So claims David Stainton of Sutterton, Lincs-based Anglian Soil Analysis. His company has used the system for five years, initially for vegetables but more recently for beet, potatoes, wheat and barley. It is now investigating its value for oilseed rape.

"We have seen a huge increase in the number of growers using WELL-N, with demand rocketing following the uncertainty caused by last years wet winter. By applying precise amounts of nitrogen some vegetable and root growers have made N-input savings of several thousand £s," he says.

After the appallingly wet winter nobody knew how much residual N was left in the soil and, therefore, available for the following crop, he says. Sampling in February/March provided an idea of what remained and where it was in the profile, and WELL-N allowed application amounts to be tailored more precisely to actual need, so removing a lot of guesswork.

"The ADAS index system was upgraded recently with the introduction of the RB 209 recommendations and WELL-N adds further precision to fertiliser treatments. By applying optimal rates, yield and quality are boosted to lift profits while reducing waste, so avoiding environmental damage."

Improved precision does not necessarily mean less N will be needed and cash savings banked. Increases may be needed to ensure the crop is not starved, so optimising performance and profits.

WELL-N has recently been extended to cover sugar beet and potatoes. Beet growers need to know the amount of residual N in their soil, as an excess upsets amino-N levels and depresses sugars, notes Mr Stainton.

WELL-N nitrogen management software helped growers save thousands of £s after last years incredibly wet winter, says David Stainton of Anglian Soil Analysis.

WELL-N

&#8226 System coped well after difficult 2000/2001 winter.

&#8226 Adds precision to N rate application.

&#8226 Now available for a wide range of arable crops.

&#8226 Helped some growers save £000s.