Arable growers are set to benefit from new fertiliser guidelines in 2017, which could help them achieving a rise in crop yields.
There has been much debate about whether the current fertiliser guidelines are holding back yields since they were last updated in 2010.
Hitting breadmaking protein specifications in newer, higher yielding milling varieties have also put the focus on fertiliser rates, particularly as Defra has no plans to update the guidelines.
The good news for growers is that the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has pledged to spend £95,000 on an independent review of the RB209 fertiliser guidelines and undertake fresh research on crop nutrition.
These review findings will ultimately feed into the successor guide to RB209 – the AHDB Nutrient Management Guide – with the first edition planned for 2017.
The AHDB is working with industry think-tank the UK Partnership for Crop Nutrient Management on the project.
Farmer and partnership chairman George Lawrie said: “There had been no planned update of RB209, so I am really excited that AHDB is carrying out this review.”
“Over 68% of farms have a nutrient management plan, a high proportion of them revisit these resources year after year to continue to manage crop nutrition, so it is really important that we have the correct information to make these decisions,” he added.
AHDB chairman Peter Kendall said the research represents a long-term commitment to add value to levy-funded research.
“By providing current, relevant data on crop nutrition, growers will be better placed to make the decisions that will drive our industry forward,” he said.
The current edition of RB209 is now hosted on the AHDB website.