1. Situation Analysis

What is this?

1-situation-analysisFertiliser planning requires a good understanding of the farm business, the current farming system, resources (water, soils, nutrient sources, pastures and crop), infrastructure and management. This step focuses on collecting this information.

How do you do this?

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 in each farm management zone.
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What is needed, or is useful?

  • Field data collection sheet
  • Farm map
  • Soil type map
  • Soil sampling equipment
  • Spade
  • Camera

 

2. Identify Potential & Limitations

What is this?

2-identify-potentialThe purpose of this step is to consider the farm business and to determine if the production goals are realistic. This step also identifies opportunities to improve knowledge and skills beneficial to soils and fertiliser management.

 

How do you do this?

Use production records and other information to check farm production goals. Compare current management practices with those in DairySAT.  Short list the options.

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What is needed, or is useful?

  • Production records
  • Local or regional focus farm data
  • Research data
  • Case studies
  • DairySAT

3. Identify soil & nutrient related issues

What is this?

3-identify-soilBefore considering the plant nutrient requirements, it is important to identify if there are other soil and nutrient related issues. There could also be opportunities to use nutrients more strategically across the farm.

 

How do you do this?

Limiting soil factors are identified from field observations and soil tests. Pastures condition is also checked. Opportunities for strategic use of nutrients, including dairy effluent, are identified.
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What is needed, or is usefule?

  • Notes and photos from field observations.
  • Soil test results
  • Farm nutrient budget
  • DairySAT

4. Interpret data & prepare draft nutrient plan

What is this?

4-interpret-dataThe purpose of a documented plan is to guide soil and fertiliser management decisions across the farm throughout the coming season or year.

How do you do this?

Include the following components:

  • 4Rs fertiliser program
  • Key farm recommendations
  • Farm management zone map
  • Soil fertility status and trends
  • Farm nutrient budget
  • Risk management plans

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What is needed, or is useful?

  • Soil and fertiliser management plan template and example
  • Soil test results
  • Information from previous steps
  • DairySAT

5. Finalise nutrient plan

What is this?

5-finalise-planThis step checks that recommendations are feasible, practical and affordable before finalising the plan.

How do you do this?

The farmer and advisor discuss; soil test results, soil fertility trends, maintenance and capital fertiliser requirements, fertiliser program and affordability, monitoring and record keeping.
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What is needed, or is useful?

  • Draft nutrient management plan
  • Soil test results

6. Implement the nutrient plan

What is this?

6-implement-planThis step involves following the fertiliser program and other recommendations outlined in the nutrient management plan.

 

How do you do this?

Follow the nutrient management plan where this is practical and affordable. Record details of fertiliser applications including; product types, rates, placement, and timing.
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What is needed, or is usefule?

  • The nutrient management plan
  • Record keeping
  • DairySAT

7. Monitoring & review

What is this?

7-monitor-reviewThis step involves monitoring soils, pastures, crops and livestock performance, and then discussing any issues with an advisor.

 

How do you do this?

The fertiliser program is reviewed in 2-6 months for fine-tuning, and then on an annual basis. Every 3 years soil testing is carried out across the farm to check soil fertility levels and trends.
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What is needed, or is useful?

  • Record keeping
  • Camera
  • Plant tissue testing (if necessary).