Guideline Index

Chapter 1: Fert$mart Planning

1.7 Monitoring and review

1.7.1 Fine-tuning (2-6 months)

The farmer closely monitors pastures, crops and livestock performance, noting any issues and discussing these with their advisor. A visit from the advisor may be beneficial 2-6 months after starting the fertiliser program to assess pastures, crops and stock and to discuss/note current production and yields (milk, crop and pasture production/consumption). Further soil and/or tissue tests may be required to diagnose nutrient related issues if problems are observed in the crops and pastures.

1.7.2 Annual review (Year 2)

An annual review (may also be half yearly, or at the end of a crop cycle) provides opportunity to:

  • Discuss/consider the fertiliser program and the records of fertilisers used in each FMZ.
  • Visually assess crops, pasture and livestock, and consider the performance throughout the year/season. Has the performance met expectations? Have any problems been observed? If no problems have been observed, and production is meeting expectations, further soil/tissue testing may not be required in year 2.
  • Redo the nutrient budget to check nutrient surpluses/deficits for the farm or FMZs.
  • Work out maintenance fertiliser requirements for the farm and FMZs.
  • Refer to previous soil tests and introduce capital fertiliser applications where required and if finances permit.
  • Update the 4Rs fertiliser program for the coming year/season.

1.7.3 Future reviews (Year 3)

Every 3 years carry out soil testing in every FMZ then repeat the steps described in the Situation Analysis (Section 1.1) and update the 4Rs fertiliser program. An important part of the year 3 review is to check soil fertility trends in each FMZ against the guidelines. Soil fertility trends provide important feedback that can be used to fine-tune maintenance requirements, and help to keep soil fertility on track over the long term – See Chapter 16 .