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SMART TOOLS FOR FERTILISER USE NOW ONLINE

Wednesday, 24 September 2003

Farmers and growers are now able to access newly combined fertiliser best practice tools on the internet. Innovative software OVERSEER®, and the recently updated Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use have been integrated and are available to easily download from the internet.

Dr Hilton Furness, Technical Director of Fert Research says the incorporation of both of these important fertiliser use tools means farmers can obtain comprehensive knowledge about nutrient management and efficient nutrient use.

“Farmers today have the latest technology for on-farm nutrient planning at their fingertips. Well integrated nutrient management plans, which are developed over time, are now more accessible for farmers. So in conjunction with their fertiliser advisor, farmers can ensure they are making the best fertiliser use decisions, now and for the future.”

The addition of the Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use in an interactive online format means farmers and growers can move around sections, search the document for relevant topics and are able to easily print parts of the Code (e.g. the self audit user guides). Additionally, within the OVERSEER® file there are cross references to the Code in appropriate places and information from the Code to assist in interpreting nutrient budgets.

The model now includes pastoral, crop and horticultural models. Within the pastoral model there are two modes – express and detailed. The express mode has been designed for farms with only one management block or for a dairy farm with an effluent block. The nutrient budget produced is for the whole farm, and limited additional information including greenhouse gas emissions associated with N cycling, animal production and fertiliser use is given in a summary report.

The detailed mode has been designed to cover a range of farm nutrient inputs or outputs, and provides the ability for users to change a variety of settings. It is for use by farmers with more than one farm block and who may be undertaking mixed farming e.g. combinations of crops, arable and pastoral.

These latest developments mean farmers are reminded of best practice management when planning their nutrient use. Notifications of possible fertiliser issues such as excessive leaching or soil accumulation are now incorporated and online or CD users are alerted to their likely impacts and are offered more sustainable alternatives.

Visit www.overseer.org.nz to download a copy or email overseer@maf.govt.nz including a name and address for a CD version free of charge.

(Please note, this is the new web address and is different to what was first stated in 2003.)

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