Guideline Index

Chapter 1: Fert$mart Planning

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The Fert$mart Planning Cycle was developed primarily as a guide for farm advisors to step through the planning process and to prepare a soil and fertiliser management plan for dairy farmers. It can also be used by dairy farmers who have a sound understanding of agronomy and soil fertility. The process consists of seven steps designed to be repeated annually to update and fine-tune fertiliser management.

1.0 Introduction

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1.1 Situation analysis

Fertiliser planning requires a good understanding of the farm and business. For best results, farmers work with their advisor to; discuss production information, inspect the paddocks, note the condition of soils and pastures, and to carry out soil sampling.

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1.2 Identify potential and limitations

The purpose of this step is to consider the farm business and to determine if the production goals are realistic and to identify opportunities where improved knowledge and skills will benefit soil and fertiliser management. The aim is to shortlist the options that will help to achieve the production goals.

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1.3 Identify soil and nutrient related issues

Before considering the plant nutrient requirements, it is important to identify if there are other soil and nutrient related issues. There could be limiting factors other than nutrients that need to be addressed to get the best value out of fertilisers. This step also involves looking for opportunities to use nutrients, including effluent, more strategically across the farm.

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1.4 Interpret data and prepare draft [no explanation]nutrient plan[/no explanation]

This step explains how to develop a soil and fertiliser management plan. The purpose of a documented plan is to guide soil and fertiliser management decisions across the farm throughout the coming season or year.

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1.5 Finalise the [no explanation]nutrient plan[/no explanation]

This step involves discussions between the farmer and advisor to check that recommendations in the plan are feasible, practical and affordable before finalising.

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1.6 Implement the [no explanation]nutrient plan[/no explanation]

This step involves following the fertiliser program and other strategies outlined in the nutrient management plan where this is practical and affordable. The farmer records details of the actual fertiliser applications including; product types, rates, placement and timing.

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1.7 Monitoring and review

This step involves monitoring soils, pastures, crops and livestock performance, and then discussing any issues with an advisor. The fertiliser program is reviewed in 2-6 months to fine-tune crop and pasture performance if required, and then on an annual basis. Every 3 years soil testing is carried out across the farm to check soil fertility levels and trends in soil fertility.

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1.8 Fert$mart Planning Checklist

View or print a checklist that lists all the steps, tools and knowhow needed for Fert$mart planning.

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1.9 References

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