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Manure management made easy

Using manures to maximum benefit and reducing harmful impact on the environment, whilst complying with NVZ rules ...

Managing and recording manure is a constant challenge for many farmers as the current legislative requirement to demonstrate manure management and NVZ compliance means that every farm must have accurate and reliable manure management plans in place.

“Farmers want to remain compliant and avoid costly fines, but also maximise the considerable benefits that can be made by utilising organic manures correctly as they are valuable resources for nutrients and organic matter for crops,” explains Farmacy agronomist Will Parker, based in Bedfordshire.

“However the paperwork required for this is often an extra burden on an already heavy work load, and in many cases the calculations and records may not be kept up to date or accurate, which can incur heavy fines.”

For his clients, Will uses Omnia to generate manure management plans as this ensures that all the legislative requirements for livestock manures, digestate covering field and farm limits, field spreading areas, risk maps and storage requirements, are met.

“Within these legal boundaries, Omnia produces organic manure maps for each field on a field scale or zoned sub-field basis. Omnia is then able to generate maps for full nutrient recommendations of the crops on which the manure is being used and what fertiliser needs to be bought in.”

Will finds the ability to tailor services to the individual farm requirements very valuable. “I use the system across many different farming scenario’s, however it all comes down to the same requirement; using manures to maximum benefit, reducing harmful impact on the environment, whilst complying with NVZ rules.”

PANEL

Working closely with one of his clients, Malcolm Scott of Lye End Farm, Buntingford in Hertfordshire, Will has been able to do just this.

Malcolm grows continuous winter wheat and spring wheat, with some mid-tier grass and wild bird mix.

Alongside this he runs a 140,000 bird broiler unit which supplies IHP in Hemel Hempstead.

“About half the muck from the broiler unit is used on the fields – usually we take the three warm batches through the summer- the rest goes to a neighbour,” explains Malcolm.

“We heard about the Omnia system and at LAMMA last year we took the opportunity to find out more – and we were impressed.”

“We really liked the idea of being able to pull together all of information in one place, and also knowing that this would mean we were legal and, in a position, to produce the supporting evidence whenever we needed to.”

On the back of this, we contacted Will and he set Omnia up for us in next to no time.

“We have found it to be a user-friendly system that’s easy to change and update.”

Accurate maps can be emailed easily across to whoever needs them. Omnia can also generate maps for soil organic matter, cation exchange, pH and micronutrients – all of which ensure that manure and fertiliser use is optimised – avoiding any costly waste or non-compliance, adds Will.

“What we have found on the fields at Lye End Farm is that over the years of the poultry manure being applied, levels of P&K are very high. I have also just carried out some N Min testing which confirmed similarly high levels of nitrogen. So we will have a manure holiday next year and will look at exporting it, and realising some value from the manure in this way.”

“In Mr Scott’s case we were also able to introduce historical yield maps into Omnia. We just connected MyJohnDeere to Omnia through the cloud and the yield maps transferred straight across. The next step is to look at how we will use this data going forward either through yield performance analysis or cost of production mapping,” explains Will.

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