Fer­til­i­sa­tion plan­ning and account­abil­i­ty in the agri­cul­ture sector

The bureau­crat­ic bur­den in farm­ing is tremen­dous­ly heavy.. With fer­til­i­sa­tion plan­ning on arable farms in par­tic­u­lar there are many doc­u­ments that farm­ers must fill out in detail. Tight dead­lines, the dif­fer­ent require­ments in the dif­fer­ent Ger­man fed­er­al states and the frame­work con­di­tions of Euro­pean agri­cul­tur­al pol­i­cy can make their work even more com­pli­cat­ed. Ensur­ing com­pli­ance with such a wide range of reg­u­la­tions can be par­tic­u­lar­ly time-con­sum­ing dur­ing peri­ods with par­tic­u­lar­ly heavy work­loads. It is only nat­ur­al that farm­ers focus all their atten­tion on their out­door work dur­ing these busy peri­ods. As a result, office work is often done simul­ta­ne­ous­ly or after work in the evening. At times like this it becomes real­ly clear just how much effort is spent on fer­til­i­sa­tion plan­ning and account­abil­i­ty. The com­bi­na­tion of dead­lines and require­ments described above makes clear fer­til­i­sa­tion plan­ning nec­es­sary to ensure that all crops are pro­vid­ed with suf­fi­cient nutri­ents. Fer­til­i­sa­tion plan­ning for eutroph­i­cat­ed and red areas, result­ing from the EU Nitrates Direc­tive, can be a par­tic­u­lar­ly chal­leng­ing task. Impor­tant aspects when account­abil­i­ty is tak­en into account include report­ing chan­nels, tim­ings and dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion poten­tial. One pos­si­ble approach for meet­ing these require­ments is to make exist­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion usable for farm man­age­ment and to avoid mul­ti­ple reports that can be par­tic­u­lar­ly prob­lem­at­ic in live­stock farm­ing. Dig­i­tal solu­tions are an excel­lent option for reduc­ing the amount of time spent on doc­u­men­ta­tion and sim­pli­fy­ing fer­til­i­sa­tion planning.

Nutri­ent man­age­ment requirements

Basi­cal­ly farm­ers can­not do with­out gen­er­al doc­u­men­ta­tion on crop pro­duc­tion mea­sures. Detailed doc­u­men­ta­tion is required sim­ply for busi­ness plan­ning alone. As a result data, which can also be used for the fer­tilis­er plan­ning, are pro­duced. When it comes to cul­ti­va­tion plan­ning and field man­age­ment in arable farm­ing, farm­ers use detailed field cat­a­logues. In these cat­a­logues all crops and mea­sures are record­ed and doc­u­ment­ed for each field indi­vid­u­al­ly. The quan­ti­ty of fer­tilis­ers applied and the effects, aris­ing from the organ­i­sa­tion of crop rota­tion, can be dis­played clear­ly. An analy­sis of soil sam­ples is a sen­si­ble , in order to be able to make pre­cise state­ments about the nutri­ent lev­els in the soils. This infor­ma­tion can be used as an addi­tion­al deci­sion-mak­ing tool when prepar­ing arable farm­ing mea­sures and cre­at­ing fer­tilis­er plans. In addi­tion, a range of plant pro­tec­tion prod­ucts, seeds and fer­tilis­ers with dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties is avail­able. In addi­tion to pur­chased goods, bio­gas and live­stock farms also pro­duce their own nutri­ents that are also used in crop cul­ti­va­tion. The prop­er­ties of the fer­tilis­ers are includ­ed in the fer­til­i­sa­tion plan­ning, which is pro­duced indi­vid­u­al­ly for each field. For organ­ic fer­tilis­ers, there are spe­cif­ic pro­vi­sions set out in the applic­a­ble direc­tives. For this, the organ­ic sub­stances are inspect­ed and the prop­er­ties doc­u­ment­ed for inter­nal use. In order to ensure that all crops have a suf­fi­cient sup­ply of nutri­ents, farm­ers must take not only the nutri­ent needs of their crops into account but also the Ger­man Fer­tilis­er Ordi­nance. It can be cost­ly and time-con­sum­ing to coor­di­nate these two fac­tors. Farm Man­age­ment Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems can help to light­en the work­load: they dis­play all the work­flows on the farm and sim­pli­fy fer­til­i­sa­tion planning.


Dig­i­tal solu­tions for fer­til­i­sa­tion planning

Dig­i­tal solu­tions are ide­al for keep­ing track of chang­ing laws and fed­er­al state-spe­cif­ic require­ments and at the same time cre­at­ing a needs-ori­ent­ed fer­til­i­sa­tion plan. The DELOS Nutri­ent Man­age­ment com­po­nent on the 365FarmNet plat­form offers a ver­sa­tile foun­da­tion for plan­ning. The com­pre­hen­sive func­tions make it pos­si­ble to cre­ate fer­tilis­er require­ment plans, mate­r­i­al flow bal­ances and nutri­ent plans quick­ly, eas­i­ly and in accor­dance with the require­ments of the indi­vid­ual fed­er­al states. The DELOS Nutri­ent Man­age­ment com­po­nent has a field cat­a­logue that can be used to main­tain an overview of crop cul­ti­va­tion. The field bound­aries are auto­mat­i­cal­ly import­ed from agri­cul­tur­al entries or the farm data in the 365FarmNet account with­out the need to re-enter the data. There­fore, the DELOS Nutri­ent Man­age­ment com­po­nent can be used for fer­til­i­sa­tion plan­ning after just a few steps. In accor­dance with the applic­a­ble legal pro­vi­sions, the nitro­gen and phos­pho­rus require­ments of the crops must be cal­cu­lat­ed before the first fer­til­i­sa­tion. This is also includ­ed in the DELOS Nutri­ent Man­age­ment com­po­nent. So that the nutri­ents in the soil can be tak­en into account dur­ing the plan­ning, soil sam­ples can be import­ed into the 365FarmNet plat­form. For plan­ning for the entire farm with regard to the red areas, the fields are sep­a­rate­ly iden­ti­fied and indi­vid­u­al­ly tak­en into account. The quan­ti­ties in the fer­til­i­sa­tion plan­ning can there­fore be auto­mat­i­cal­ly adapt­ed to the require­ments. Upper lim­it val­ues for organ­ic fer­tilis­ers are also includ­ed for each spe­cif­ic field. The annu­al fer­tilis­er quan­ti­ties deter­mined for the farm in this way are always cal­cu­lat­ed in accor­dance with the cur­rent­ly applic­a­ble legal pro­vi­sions. For pur­chased fer­tilis­ers, farm­ers can keep an eye on stock lev­els by means of an inte­grat­ed deliv­ery note man­age­ment. A com­par­i­son of require­ments and quan­ti­ties guar­an­tees pre­cise fer­til­i­sa­tion plan­ning. The doc­u­men­ta­tion is then done by means of a mate­r­i­al flow bal­ance in accor­dance with the cur­rent Ger­man Fer­tilis­er Ordi­nance. Anoth­er great advan­tage of the DELOS Nutri­ent Man­age­ment com­po­nent is the dif­fer­ent inter­faces to report­ing pro­grammes, such as the Report­ing Pro­gramme for Farm­yard Manure and the Pro­gramme for Elec­tron­ic Nutri­ent Report­ing in Low­er Sax­ony (ENNI). Evi­dence about the mea­sures per­formed is there­fore trans­mit­ted direct­ly from the fer­til­i­sa­tion plan­ning. It is also pos­si­ble to gen­er­ate 2‑day reports on record­ed fer­til­i­sa­tion activities.
To sum­marise, dig­i­tal solu­tions can sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce the time spent on doc­u­men­ta­tion and account­abil­i­ty on arable farms. Com­pli­cat­ed and exten­sive require­ments, spe­cif­ic frame­work con­di­tions and adjust­ments can be clear­ly mapped by means of Farm Man­age­ment Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems. Inte­grat­ed inter­faces short­en report­ing chan­nels and make the plan­ning of mea­sures more efficient.

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