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Data resources for the Fertiliser Information System - IF0133

Defra have spent many million pounds over several decades researching the effective use and fate of nutrients applied to land in organic manures or as manufactured fertiliser. These data provide the core dataset that has underpinned the current edition of Defra's 'Fertiliser Recommendations (RB209)' publication (7th edition, published Dec 2000). This publication is the national standard used by farmers for field level nutrient management decisions and is the preferred basis for assessing compliance with regulatory (e.g. Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, NVZ) and incentivised (e.g. the Nutrient Management Plan option under Entry Level Stewardship) schemes. The current NVZ Action Programme (AP) rules are being revised and, in future, farmers are likely to come under more pressure to follow the RB209 recommendations.

In early 2006, a Scoping Study by ADAS on behalf of Defra (contract with Defra's Nutrient Management Unit) asked for views and information from the industry concerning a potential revision of the RB209 recommendations. This study concluded that a revision was needed and Defra subsequently confirmed that a revision would take place - this is currently underway (Defra project IF0114). The responses to the Scoping Study also emphasised that the farming industry was very anxious that the technical basis and evidence for the revised RB209 recommendations should be transparent and readily available. This is necessary so that the industry can have confidence in the RB209 recommendations especially where these recommendations might become central to farmers achieving compliance with the NVZ AP rules. Non-compliance can result in farmers losing part or all of their Single Farm Payment (SFP) due the formal linkage of these payments with Cross Compliance obligations.

This project will create a central, accessible, categorised web-based Data Resource populated with selected key research data and other information that underpins Defra's national standard nutrient recommendations (RB209). The Resource will house Defra-owned data (down to site data) and multiple document types (e.g. reports etc) that can be interrogated using a powerful search tool. Data that are currently private, will be included as they are made available.

There will be a simple process for uploading data operated by registered persons who might be the researchers themselves. The website will be searchable so that selected data/documents can be downloaded or viewed. The website will be designed to be large enough to accomodate large quantities of information and so that it can grow with time as new information is added. The system will be akin to an Extranet that will be maintained by ADAS but with appropriate links to Defra and other websites.

Development of the Data Resource will meet the requirement for transparency of the research information that underpins RB209 but will also make existing data more readily known and available to the research community for possible additional uses.
General objective
To develop a web-based Data Resource and to populate the Resource with selected results from Defra funded research linked to the new fertiliser information system (revised RB209). Any registered researcher will be able to add data to the Resource, including privately funded data where these are made available. The content of the Resource will accessible in the public domain and will be publicised.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2007

Cost: £45,277
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Arable Farming              
Farm Management