The UK Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board has released two videos that show viewers how to sample slurries and farmyard manures (FYM) for nutritional profiling.
The videos follow the steps necessary to obtain a representative sample and package appropriately to send to a lab for analysis.
Taking representative samples and assessing their nutrient content accurately, according to AHDB, can help farmers make better use of organic materials and reduce costs.
The videos were created ahead of the publication of the new AHDB Nutrient Management Guide (RB209), which will be launched at the Grassland & Muck event at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, England, on May 24. The event will feature a display of machinery, live demonstrations and grass plots, along with timely advice and technical forums, which should interest grassland farmers.
Typical values of the total nutrient content of livestock manures are tabulated in the Organic Materials section of the new guide. However, nutrient content can vary considerably from the average, which means that lab analysis can give farmers the edge when it comes to effective nutrient management planning.
"All crops need a steady supply of nutrients to grow, we all know we have a certain amount of nutrients in our slurries—the question is whether they are more or less than the given values in the book", said Thom Washbourne, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager for Dairy, who hosts "How to Sample Slurry".
"Accurate analysis of nutrient content means farmers can make better use of their slurry and save money on bagged fertiliser", he added
Bill Reilly, AHDB Beef & Lamb scientific officer for grass and forage, who presents "How to Sample Farmyard Manure", said: "Manure is often seen as a waste product but in many ways it could improve farm profitability and efficiency".