Guideline Index

Chapter 1: Fert$mart Planning

1.8 Fert$mart planning checklist

The following checklist provides a summary of the steps involved in Fert$mart Planning along with the tools and knowhow that are available to undertake each step.

1. Situation Analysis

Print checklist
Steps – Production Goals Tools Knowhow
  • 1.1 Understand the feeding system
  • 1.2 Know farm production goals and feed requirements
  • 1.3 Access information for the nutrient budget
Steps – Physical Resources Tools Knowhow
  • 1.4 Map farm soil types
    • Access previous soil tests
  • 1.5 Map FMZs
  • 1.6 Collect soil samples – FMZs
  • 1.7 Assess soil condition – FMZs
  • 1.8 Assess pasture condition -FMZs
Steps – Financial Resources Tools Knowhow
  • 1.9 Determine fertiliser financial budget
    • Access fertiliser records
Steps – Human Resources Tools Knowhow
  • 1.10 Consider contractors, labour & skills.
Steps – Animal Health Tools Knowhow
  • 1.11 Consider animal health issues
Steps – Infrastructure, equipment & management Tools Knowhow
  • 1.12 Consider infrastructure, equipment and management
    • Review fertiliser/effluent handling and distribution.
    • Consider options for cost effective upgrades.
    • Consider management practices that can improve fertiliser use efficiency (incl. soil, fertiliser, irrigation, effluent, pasture utilisation).

2. Identify potential and limitations

Steps Tools Knowhow
  • 2.1 Determine if goals are realistic
  • 2.2 Identify gaps in knowledge, skills and practices
  • 2.3 Shortlist the options
  • DairySAT

3. Identify soil and nutrient related issues

Steps Tools Knowhow
  • 3.1 Identify soil issues
  • 3.2 Identify irrigation water quality issues
  • 3.3 Limiting crop/pasture condition issues
  • 3.4 Identify farm-scale nutrient issues/options

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

Steps Tools Knowhow
  • 4.1 Identify paddocks and FMZs on a farm map.For each FMZ consider the following:
  • 4.2 Address soil constraints with cost effective management options.
  • 4.3 Compare soil tests/trends with optimum ranges.
  • 4.4 Address soil health: Determine management options.
  • 4.5 Address weeds, pests and disease issues.
  • 4.6 Effluent/manure use: Determine cost effective management options.
  • 4.7 Prepare 4Rs fertiliser program.
  • 4.8 Determine risk management strategies (human, stock, environment).
  • 4.9 Document the nutrient management plan

5. Finalise [no explanation]nutrient plan[/no explanation]

Steps Tools Knowhow
Farmer/advisor discuss & check management options and finalise the draft nutrient plan:

  • 5.1 Soil test results, soil fertility trends and maintenance requirements.
  • 5.2 Check management options are best suited to the farm & farm budget.
  • 5.3 Consider nutrient program costs/economics, e.g. staged nutrient build-up plan.
  • 5.4 Check the 4Rs fertiliser plan suits farm infrastructure, machinery and management
  • 5.5 Discuss implementation of the plan, record keeping and monitoring crop/pasture performance.
  • 5.6 Finalise the nutrient management plan.
The draft nutrient management plan

6. Implement the nutrient plan

Steps Tools Knowhow
  • 6.1 Farmer implements the 4Rs plan (where practical).
  • 6.2 Farmer records the actual sources, rates, placement and timing (including frequency).
  • 6.3 Farmer follows practices recommended in DairySAT (soils, fertiliser, effluent and irrigation).
  • Paddock record keeping tool

DairySAT checklists:

7. Monitoring and  Review

Steps Tools Knowhow
  • 7.1 Fine-tuning (2-6 months):
    • Farmer monitors pastures, crops and livestock performance and discusses issues with advisor.
    • Advisor visit and further soil/tissue testing as required to resolve issues.
  • 7.2 Annual review (Year 2):
    • Discuss/consider the fertiliser program
    • Review production targets
    • Soil/tissue testing if issues exist.
    • Redo the nutrient budget.
    • Work out fertiliser maintenance requirements.
    • Introduce capital fertiliser applications if finances permit.
    • Update the 4Rs fertiliser recommendations.
  • 7.3 Future reviews (Year 3):
    • Soil test every FMZ
    • Repeat steps in Situation Analysis.
    • Check soil fertility trends and update the fertiliser program.