Farmers across Europe are confronted with pressing challenges, requiring them to boost crop productivity, while simultaneously reducing their reliance on synthetic fertilisers and minimising nutrient losses. With a transition to more nature friendly production methods alongside ever more unpredictable weather, the challenges are immense.
With that in mind, Proagrica, the company behind the UK’s leading crop management solution, Farmplan Gatekeeper, was delighted to be invited to join the NUTRI-CHECK NET project to bring its data integration expertise to help address these challenges.
The three-year EU-funded project is focused on improving nutrient management on arable farms, and will help growers adopt the best farm and field specific nutrient management practices.
Led by ADAS, an independent provider of agricultural and environmental advice, the project’s goal will be the creation of NUTRI-CHECK NET, a platform where growers will be able to find best practice nutrition tools, products, services, and recent research to help them manage crop nutrition.
How will it work?
Each participating country is forming Crop Nutrition Clubs (CNC) of interested farmers, to identify and share their current crop nutrition challenges. A National Expert Group (NEG) comprised of researchers, policy advisors, industry partners, and CNC representatives will then compile the best nutrition tools, services, commercial products, and recent research findings on the NUTRI-CHECK NET platform. The platform will be a ‘toolbox’ from which every grower can select the solution that best helps them meet their crop nutrition challenges.
The platform will provide access to the latest developments on nutrient management and information on best practice, so growers can make more precise crop nutrition decisions, no matter what farm system they employ.
“Every farmer needs a level of nutrient management control,” says Charley Burnell, Sentinel Product Manager for Proagrica. “Whatever system they are in, they have to have the data points against which to measure their performance whilst ensuring they conform to national guidelines and legislative requirements.”
Making life easier for growers
This is where software like Farmplan Gatekeeper comes in. When it comes to nutrient management, growers who use Proagrica’s Farmplan Gatekeeper software are already in a good position. Now, Proagrica wants to make life even easier for growers to make good crop nutrition decisions in the future through their involvement with the NUTRI-CHECK NET project.
“Nutrient management can be an intensive process for growers and their advisors with all of its information gathering and calculations,” says Charley. “If you are a Gatekeeper user, you probably already have 90% of what you need to create a nutrient management plan, in one place. Growers don’t have to log into multiple locations to enter their data. We bring the industry-standard nutrient management tool to them, and we have one of the highest levels of integration into our program.”
It’s these high levels of integration that make Proagrica perfectly placed to help deliver this project.
Proagrica has a history of integrating Gatekeeper with widely-used nutrient management solutions: users currently have the choice of utilising either the PLANET algorithms from ADAS, or more recently the AHDB’s RB209 API. There are also more integrations and developments coming that reflect the ever-changing requirements of the agricultural industry.
An investment in our growers
“Getting involved with the project is a great way of demonstrating how we have our growers and their best interests in mind, and that we are at the forefront of progress in research and development,” says Charley.
The NUTRI-CHECK NET project is currently at the information gathering stage, but for Proagrica, the creation of a platform that widens the accessibility of nutrient management systems to every farm and field is an exciting prospect.
“It’s really encouraging that Proagrica has been asked to participate and really forward thinking of the project group to have involved us,” says Charley. “It shows that they are thinking about the challenges facing agriculture from a whole system perspective. It’s not just about the research or the findings, they are looking at the whole picture from best practice to transferring that knowledge onto farms and enabling its best use for as many growers as possible.”