Nutrient Management Planning and Groundwater Vulnerability

This week I continued training on devising nutrient management plans (NMP) for TGL Consulting clients and I also trained on carrying out groundwater vulnerability maps from GSI.ie. I have now learned how to carry out NMP and assess the LPIS information and I am continuing to learn how to detail the report for the farmers to advise them on both organic and chemical fertilizer applications. On Tuesday, I presented via skype my research proposal on using organic fertilizers as a substitute for inorganic to improve the efficiency in nitrogen use and uptake and to impact the carbon footprint. I will continue next week on my research proposal and also on NMP’s and groundwater vulnerability maps. I am also continuing to take herbage samples each week to freeze, so they can be analysed down the line if necessary. Each week I am also monitoring soil temperature, so I will be able to depict the most suitable time for the digestate to be applied and currently soil temperatures are averaging at 6.5ºC.

Precise Application of Fertilizers

This week I received three days training on devising nutrient management plans (NMP) for TGL Consulting clients. I received training from one of the consultants who showed me how to input the client information, animal information, soil analysis and LPIS information. I have now learned how to carry out NMP and assess the LPIS information and I am continuing to learn how to detail the report for the farmers to advise them on both organic and chemical fertilizer applications. On Wednesday I attended a conference in Teagasc Moorepark on the precise application of fertilizers. It was a fantastic insight into both the environmental and practical aspect of fertilizer application and how the NMP online system has been a key component in assisting in this.

Week 5

I took initial soil samples on Saturday the 16th and on Monday, I took the initial herbage analysis of two of the farms. I met with Conor Butler of FBA laboratories in Waterford to discuss the project and to gain feedback. I also discussed with Conor the sample analysis to be carried out. FBA laboratories will be carrying out both soil and herbage analysis, and on Wednesday I received the grass feed analysis from FBA and I anticipate the minor trace elements and soil analysis will be received possibly next week. I discussed with John Gough of JHG Analytical the schedule for the microbiological testing of the samples and worked out a schedule with him.

Plan for Following Week:

I will take herbage samples from each farm on Monday and store in freezer from advisement from Conor Butler. I will meet with Tom to receive training on carrying out Nutrient Management Plans. I hope to attend a conference in Teagasc Moorepark on Wednesday 27th on good fertilizer practices. I aim to take soil samples also on Wednesday morning to send to JHG Analytical for initial microbiological analysis. I will submit an updated draft of my research proposal to both Charles and Galina.

Week 4

Received feedback from Galine on draft of research proposal. Will aim to submit an updated draft to both Charles and Galina next Tuesday. I met with all three participating farmers this week and have established each plot. Discussed with Tom schedule for taking the initial samples of both soil and herbage. I anticipate taking the initial samples tomorrow (Saturday 16th), if not it will be Monday. I learnt from Tom how to take the soil samples and I communicated with FBA and JHG analytical the analysis to be performed by each.

Plan for Following Week:

Will meet FBA laboratories on Monday. I will take initial soil samples tomorrow and I hope to take initial herbage samples on Monday and take them to FBA laboratories for analysis. I will send soil samples for microbiological analysis to JHG analytical on Wednesday.

Week 3

This week entailed predominantly planning for the coming week. I plan to meet the farmers that will be involved in the project and I will establish each plot on each individual farm. Once the plots are established I will proceed in starting the initial sampling and analysis. I will communicate with Tom the digestate data and will proceed on the statistical analysis on such. I will further work on the research proposal on advisement and comments from Galina. Sampling parameters were agreed upon in conjunction with both Tom and Galina.

Week 2

This week I communicated with Galina in a skype meeting with regards to the experimental design of the project. We discussed the parameters that were necessary to assess. Galina assisted in drawing up a field plot design. Participated in a meeting with Charles, Galina and the class with regards to the MSc Agribioscience programme.

I continued with the literature review – covered the final part on the current regulation in Ireland on fertilizers and covered soil nutrient deprivation along with anaerobic digestion process and set out a plan for the difference between organic and inorganic fertilizers. I communicated with Galina with regards to training next week for sample analysis. Communicated with Charles, Galina and Tom with regards the experimental design. Updated the field plot design to incorporate the size of the trailing shoe spreader that will be used for the project. I designed a survey to assess from different farmers the amount of both digestate and chemical fertilizer that was used in the previous year and also the soil types of each farm.P

Week 1

This week has been the start of my research project placement as part of my Masters in Agribioscience at NUIG. The week has been filled with tremendous amounts of reading and writing: the beginning of a research trial. For my project I will be working with Tom Larkin of H and L Environmental in conjunction with JHG Analytical in deciphering mechanisms of nutrient recovery by plants from AD digestate to reduce carbon footprint on farms. The aim for my this week was to get a fundamental start on my literature review for my research project proposal. So far I have looked at current regulations in Ireland on the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers and also soil nutrient deprivation. For the week coming I hope to continue further literature research into how nutrient management plans are assessed, the difference between organic and inorganic fertilizers and also to layout and experimental design for my field trial.