nutrient addition to agricultural soils both runs the risk of polluting
surface and ground waters, and results in a considerable financial
burden to farm businesses (where additional nutrients are bought onto
the farm) for little if any benefit in the form of yields and/or
profits. One commonly advocated method of reducing these problems is
the use of nutrient budgeting.
budget is a management tool for farmers that can help identify the flow
of nutrients (chiefly nitrogen, phosphate and potassium) through the
farm system, and can be used to help identify ways in which nutrients
can be used more efficiently, minimising losses. A nutrient budget
report should be able to show how effective the farming system is at
transferring input nutrients to farm outputs (i.e. the products
produced on the farm for sale). Crucially, it should also be able to
identify what proportion of the input nutrients are surplus to
requirements (and available for leaching), or indeed whether if the
system is struggling on a nutrient deficit, in which case yields may
not be at their optimum. The technique is also used more and more
frequently by crop assurance schemes and for regulatory control as
evidence of sound nutrient management.
worked on a number of nutrient budgeting projects, and as a result have developed a range of tools for assisting in the on-farm management of nutrients. Key amongst these have been:
In addition, the use of nutrient forms a part of many of the LCA-based projects undertaken by the team.
For details of these and our other nutrient management capabilities, visit
out case studies page, or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.