AgriSuite is an interactive online collection of management tools and calculators, developed by OMAFRA that you can access from your desktop or mobile device. AgriSuite assists you with key crop fertilization management decisions and how they relate to optimizing crop production and protecting the environment.
AgriSuite: The Field Management Calculator helps with nutrient balancing to optimize crop production
Consider the nutrients in soil as a bank account. Crops remove nutrients while manure and fertilizer contribute to replenishing the nutrient “account”. There is a range where soil nutrient levels optimize crop production with minimal risk of nutrient loss to the environment. Manure and other organic amendments add to the complexity of nutrient balancing. When an organic amendment is applied for the first time, the available nutrient value is often unknown. Or, when manure is applied frequently to the same field or is applied at high rates, the over-application of nutrients can lead to very high soil fertility levels. When phosphorus levels increase over 30 ppm (sodium bicarb) the risk of phosphorus moving with runoff or through field tile increases significantly. Keeping soil fertility levels in the ideal range maximizes economic use of fertilizer and manure for crop production and soil health, which is the objective of the AgriSuite Field Management Calculator.
How does the Field Management calculator work?
The Field Management Calculator (FMC) helps determine your crop nutrient balance by accounting for nutrients from organic amendments, commercial fertilizer and previous nitrogen credits. Whether for a single field or multiple fields for a single crop or over a full crop rotation, the nutrient balance offers insight to maintaining soil fertility levels in a range that will sustain crop needs while minimizing risk of nutrient losses to the environment.
The FMC uses field location, site details (slope, soil texture, field drainage and soil fertility) to determine crop production recommendations as well as nutrients removed from harvest. It incorporates the other AgriSuite calculators to optimize crop production while minimizing the risk of nutrient loss. These include the Crop Nutrient Calculator, the Organic Amendment Calculator, the Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool (PLATO), and the Fertilizer Calculator.
- The Organic Amendment Calculator helps determine the available nutrients and value of added manure.
- The Phosphorus Loss (PLATO) Calculator helps determine the risk of field scale phosphorus loss as it relates to site specific characteristics and the management practices used on your fields.
- The Fertilizer Calculator and the Crop Nutrient Calculator help to determine agronomic or crop removal balances. A hybrid of the two where agronomic nitrogen recommendations are combined with crop removal phosphorus and potassium has also been added. Environmental indicators provide guidelines and best management practices to help keep nutrients within a range that maximizes economic crop production while minimizing risk of nutrient loss.
For additional information, step-by-step videos that will walk you through the Field Management Calculator are available below. The example uses a farm with several fields and two types of manure to balance manure with commercial fertilizer in a corn-soybean-wheat rotation:
- Field Management Calculator (FMC) Introduction: https://youtu.be/l-zpdAj3bNQ
- FMC Step 1: farm and field setup https://youtu.be/RDuNVdIgPc4
- FMC Step 2: crop and crop rotations https://youtu.be/9qPyXcElx9M
- FMC Step 3: adding fertilizer and manure https://youtu.be/afMwDDzL4j8
- FMC Step 4: environmental indicators (flags) https://youtu.be/S_Zs4XFHeQY
Calculators in AgriSuite are easy to use
AgriSuite stand-alone calculators can provide simple estimates that can help with various aspects of nutrient management. To date they include:
- Crop Nutrient calculator to determine crop needs and nutrient removal
- the Organic Amendment calculator to determine available nutrients from a manure application
- the Fertilizer calculator to determine inorganic fertilizer applied or blends to meet crop requirements
- the Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool for Ontario (PLATO) to compare management practices for estimating phosphorus loss from individual fields
This project was funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative