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Nutrient Management Software Tool Available for Farmers

An upgrade of a software programme to help farmers use fertiliser in a more cost-effective and efficient way, is being launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The update of the Overseer Nutrient Budget Software Programme, software programme, which was originally developed to help assess the impact of agriculture on the environment, is also a big asset to farmers in helping them with nutrient and water quality management.

The programme, developed by AgResearch, is jointly owned by MAF and AgResearch and copies will be available free either from the Internet or on CD.

"Basically Overseer is a decision support software programme, designed to help farmers managing nutrient inputs into their farming system. In other words, it will help provide a summary of nutrient inputs and outputs from a farm or orchard," says Phil Journeaux, MAF manager of the Overseer programme.

"Overseer calculates nutrient budgets for nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, sulphur, magnesium, sodium and calcium as well as greenhouse gas emissions for methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide."

"While in the past there have been nutrient balance type models available, this is a step forward by including a wider range of nutrients and farm type models. It is also deliberately designed to be farmer-friendly and easy to use," says Mr Journeaux.

This latest version is the first to also incorporate the ability to calculate greenhouse gas emissions at farm-level.

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