BPEX blog

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Know what's in your muck for better nutrient use

BPEX is at the Grassland and Muck event today as part of an AHDB muck analysis feature. Farmers are invited to bring along a manure or slurry sample with them for free analysis. The first 25 farmers each day to bring along a maximum of two samples will qualify for free analysis. Results will be sent to farmers after the event. Plus, visitors will be able to see a demonstration of the technology throughout the event on the AHDB stand in the muck area.

Accurate analysis gives livestock farmers the knowledge to make efficient use of the nutrients in manure and slurry. Knowing the composition of manures helps to both reduce the environmental impact of manure use and increase profitability.

Manures and slurries can make a major contribution towards grass and cereal crop nutrient requirements and help save costs on fertiliser inputs. It means manures can make a positive contribution to the bottom line, rather than being a cost burden, as the benefits of better nutrient management help offset the storage and spreading costs.

The challenge for farmers is to make best use of the valuable nutrients in manure while, at the same time, minimising any effect on water courses and the environment.

Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS) is an innovative muck analysis technique that will help farmers analyse the nutrient content of manures rapidly and accurately, at a lower cost than before. It was developed through a LINK-funded research project and is able to predict total and ammonium nitrogen, phosphate, potash, magnesium and sulphur content of manures, slurries and biosolids.

Nigel Penlington, BPEX Environment Manager (pictured) said: “This analysis technique enables farmers to manage valuable plant nutrients with greater confidence, knowing more precisely what they are applying to the land.

“The key is that they can make informed decisions about where and when to use their manure or slurry, whether it be as part of their grassland management or to the benefit of an arable enterprise.”

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