Strategies for optimal fertiliser management of vegetabel crops in Europe
In Europe a number of procedures are used to assist growers and advisors to determine optimal N fertiliser recommendations. The implementation of European Union (EU) legislation is encouraging the adoption of fertiliser recommendation schemes. The most widely used schemes are those based on soil testing or on the use of indices that estimate the soil nitrogen supply. Soil testing approaches that are in use, particularly in NW Europe are the Nmin, KNS and N-Expert systems; the latter is operated as a computer-based decision support system (DSS). The comprehensive RB209 Fertiliser Manual of England and Wales uses soil N supply indices, but soil analysis can also be used. Nitrogen balance calculations are widely used throughout Europe and form part of the KNS and N-Expert systems, and a number of other DSSs. The N balance considers the various soil N sources and treats mineral N fertiliser as a supplemental N source. The EU-Rotate_N simulation model is a comprehensive and versatile tool, developed for diverse European conditions, that is useful for scenario analysis simulations to stakeholders. Various DSS have been developed in different European countries, with different levels of complexity. There are a number of different DSS that calculate N fertiliser recommendations for particular cropping systems; some DSS calculate the requirements for other nutrients, and some also do so for irrigation which is particularly useful where fertigation is used. Sap analysis has been shown to be sensitive to crop nutrient status, for N and some other nutrients; currently, there is renewed interest in sap analysis. Proximal optical sensors are a promising approach for N management.
Thompson, R.B.; Voogt, W.; Incrocci, L.; Fink, M.; De Neve, S. 2018. Strategies for optimal fertiliser management of vegetabel crops in Europe. Acta Horticulturae 1192, 129-140.