24 January 1997

Simpler soil Ntest with single sample

A SIMPLER soil nitrogen testing service has been launched by Kemira Fertilisers.

Just one set of soil samples is now needed for the companys N-Min test, which predicts the amount of soil N available to cereals, rape or legumes during the growing season. Previously, two sets were required.

"People found taking the two a bit of a chore," says Kemiras technical manager, Roger Chesher. "Some forgot to take the second lot, or took them at the wrong time. Our laboratory analysis is much improved, so we have replaced them with a calculation method instead."

Samples should be taken about two weeks before the first top dressing to allow time for results to be sent back, says Mr Chesher. Soil pH, P, K and Mg levels are also given.

Each N-Min kit, including instructions, costs £95 and is enough for two tests. A soil sampling auger, which ensures the right depth (30cm) and amount of soil is sampled, costs £15. Both are available direct from Kemira or appointed distributors.

For more information on crop nutrition turn to our Fertiliser Supplement in the centre of this issue.

Improvements to Kemiras N-Min service should make it easier to assess soil N reserves this spring.

Grain passport warning

SOME farmers are still risking grain load rejections because they are failing to send a new style "grain passport" with loads, warns agricultural supply trade association UKASTA.

"We estimate over 90% of loads delivered are already checked for cleanliness at loading. But we need to remind growers that it became an essential requirement from Jan 1," explains Jamie Day, UKASTAs merchanting manager.

The new grain passport is effectively an extension of the old Post Harvest Pesticide Declaration. But farmers must also give written approval of the cleanliness of the transporting lorry.

"Growers should view this as a positive move, as it is designed to not only smooth the process of easy acceptance at the point of end user intake but also satisfy consumer demands for assurance," says Mr Day.

Complete rotation project

FARMERS, especially those adding unfamiliar crops such as vegetables to their operations, should be able to plan complete rotations to optimise nitrogen supply and minimise environmental pollution under a new MAFF LINK project, says Horticulture Research International.

The computer-based decision support system uses the two-year old horticultural WELL-N and SUNDIAL, recently developed for arable growers.

A key aspect of the £0.5m three-year project will be a series of up to 40 farm trials, each over two seasons, to test the accuracy of the new package, says HRI.


NEW swede variety Brora from the Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee, has been introduced with the specific aim of improving the quality of culinary swedes. Martin Titley, Sharpes International, says the purple-skinned variety resists skin blemishes and "corkiness".

FULLY restored hybrid spring oilseed rape Hyola 410, expected to take 10% of the Canadian market this year and in 1997 UK Descriptive List trials, will be available in limited amounts through selected merchants this season, says Zeneca Seeds.

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