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Profit from CF N-Min sampling

Darren Baxter

Farmer: Darren Baxter, Southport, Lancs

Crops grown: wheat, vegetables, brassica, potatoes

Yield gain: 0.7t/ha

Margin gain: extra £120/ha

Fertiliser used: Nitram® and DoubleTop®

CF N-Min and careful management boost Wheat margins

“With a large proportion of vegetables in the rotation, cereals have largely been regarded as a break-crop, but we’re finding that if we pay them the same attention to detail as we do to our high-value brassica and potato crops, not only do they make more money in their own right, they have a significant impact on what follows them.” explains Darren.

In trials across three neighbouring fields, N-Min testing showed soil nitrogen reserves (SMN + AAN) ranged from 53 – 59kg N/ha with that in the crops being between 60 and 67.5kg N/ha – the plants with higher numbers of tillers containing more N than the crops with less growth. Total soil nitrogen supply (SNS) for the more developed crops (soil Nitrogen reserve plus Crop N) was therefore about 126kg N/ha and about 113kg N/ha for the less developed ones (120kg N/ha average).

Using CF N-Calc to determine the fertiliser requirement, an additional 175kg N/ha was calculated to be needed to produce a yield of 10.0t/ha whilst for a 12t/ha yield it was 197kg N/ha (186kg N/ha average), as opposed to the farm rate of 220kg N/ha. All the plots received 185kg/ha of DoubleTop as a first application delivering 56kg SO3/ha and 50kg N/ha with the balance made up in subsequent applications.

Over all plots, the CF N-programme produced an average yield of 11.2 t/ha with an average margin over fertiliser costs (MOFC) of £1515/ha compared to 10.5t/ha and £1395/ha respectively for the standard farm practice – 0.7t/ha yield gain and £120ha lift in MOFC.