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Smartphone app helps farmers slash fertiliser costs

A new app is designed to help growers save money on their fertiliser use by choosing the cheapest and most effective materials to deliver a fertiliser recommendation for a particular crop.

The paid-for Fertilizer Chooser application, which runs on Apple iOS and Android mobile devices, has been developed by a UK agronomist.

Users simply select crop type and name, measurement system and currency, oxide or elemental fertiliser nutrient content and whether to include micronutrients. Fertiliser materials available to the grower are then selected, along with their nutrient content and price, recommended rates and minimum doses, and the expected crop performance.

The optimisation program then estimates the cheapest combination of fertilisers to implement the recommendation in a report that can be emailed and pasted into an Excel spreadsheet.

Fertilizer Chooser application

The app was developed by UK-based agronomy consultant Thomas Fairhurst of Tropical Crop Consultants in partnership with Agrisoft Systems, a software developer for precision agriculture solutions based in Indonesia that specialises in management decision support systems for oil palm plantations.

Mr Fairhurst emphasises that the app can be used for any broadacre or perennial crops. “Farmers and growers are sometimes faced with choosing from a wide range of fertiliser materials to implement a recommendation provided by an agronomist,” he points out. “The Fertilizer Chooser app calculates the most cost-effective combination of materials available to individual growers.”

The partners have previously produced OMP-Fertilizer Planner, a decision support tool for preparing fertiliser recommendations, and Oil Palm Management Program, an agronomic information management system for oil palm plantations.