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AHDB launch revised Nutrient Management Guide: RB209

Publication Date: 
24 May 2017

The latest edition of AHDB’s Nutrient Management Guide, RB209 is now available following its launch in May.

The new guide provides a practical, robust and clear insight in to nutrient management.

RB209 comprises of seven sections: (i) Principles of crop nutrient management; (ii) Organic materials; (iii) Grass and forage crops; (iv)  Arable crops; (v) Potatoes; (vi) Vegetables and bulbs; and (vii) Fruit, vines and hops.

Available to download at

Collecting data from 2009

RB209 is the result of a comprehensive data review that critically evaluates scientific literature, publically funded projects and commercial data carried out on crop nutrition since 2009.

Farmers, growers, agronomists, breeders, researchers, fertiliser companies and other industry experts were among those consulted on how existing RB209 recommendations could be improved to incorporate the latest scientific advances.

Users will benefit from a document that forms the basis of best practice in nutrient management planning against which to compare current practices and deduce implications for farm profitability and environmental impacts.

What does this mean for Potatoes?

Section five of the new guide works as a successor to the previous Potato Council Crop Nutrition for Potatoes guide and pools together all of AHDB Potatoes Nutrition data.

Working in conjunction with Sections One and Two the two most significant changes to the new revision is the inclusion of additional varieties to potato determinacy groupings, plus the recommendation to apply sulphur where there is a risk of deficiency.

Section One concisely provides the principles of nutrient management. There is an increased emphasis on the importance of soil sampling. In addition, guidance is included on building up low Indices of P and K.

The organic materials guidance (Section Two) now contains updated N, P and K nutrient content values for manures and slurries, as well as information on the availability of sulphur from organic materials.

Furthermore, the digital publication includes instructional videos on sampling slurry and FYM.

All the nutrient management guides will be available digitally as a navigable PDF or via an app (Apple and Android). Copies will also made available at AHDB events over the coming months.

The work does not stop at the new guides, and new research has been commissioned by AHDB Potatoes which will inform the next revision of Section 5 in 2020.

The aim of this new project is to generate simple protocols and data to define the nitrogen determinacy groups of potato varieties, which could easily be used by plant breeders, packers, processors and agronomists alike. Currently there are no objective, cost effective ways of establishing nitrogen determinacy groups of new varieties.

This grouping information is required in order to establish the appropriate nitrogen application rate for a given season length and soil nitrogen supply.  If nitrogen fertiliser is incorrectly applied it has potential to increased production costs, yield loss, poor crop quality and increased wastage.

The first approach taken will be to investigate the relationship between in-field parameters (such as canopy persistence and harvest index) and nitrogen determinacy grouping from an extensive range of experimental and commercial crops. Field trials will be carried out in seasons 2017 to 2019 to test the candidate metrics on a wider set of varieties. By the end of the project, the goal is that the new protocol will be used to estimate the determinacy grouping of the most popular varieties grown.

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