A new tool is being developed by the EU to help farmers manage the use of nutrients on their farm.
The so-called Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients (FaST), proposed in the framework of the Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs), aims to facilitate a sustainable use of fertilisers for all farmers in the EU while boosting the digitisation of the agricultural sector.
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Part of the new common agricultural policy proposals for 2021-2027, a new tool is being developed to help farmers manage the use of nutrients on their farm: the Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients (FaST).
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To be used by farmers and free of charge, the FaST tool will automatically provide information on the parcels selected, including crops, the number of animals on the farm and the amount of manure generated by them. Additional data will also be available for nutrient management such as data on soil, the proximity of protected areas and legal limits on the use of nutrients.
Accessible via mobile phones, PCs or tablets as a digital tool, the user can accept or edit the data provided. From this, the tool will propose a nutrient management plan, which gives customised recommendations on crop fertilisation for the farm selected.
The tool will also make sense from an agronomic perspective and lead to an increase in farmers´ revenues and efficiency
According to the European Commmission, use of the FaST tool will bring environmental benefits, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient leakage in ground water and rivers, as well as positively contributing to water and soil quality.
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“The tool will also make sense from an agronomic perspective. It will help increase crop yield, when there is under-fertilisation, or decrease the use of nutrients, when there is over-fertilisation. In both cases, this will lead to an increase in farmers´ revenues and efficiency,” says the European Commission.
According to the European Commission, the simplification of the farmers’ tasks is another main advantage of the FaST. “Data entry and input duplication, for example the manual introduction of the same data for different administration bodies, will be significantly reduced. Moreover, due to its wide scale use, the tool can serve as a basis for additional digital services provided by the market or public administrations, further facilitating the digitalisation of the management of the CAP.”
The functionalities and services of this common platform are to be fully customised in each EU country to ensure that the tool is adapted to the local conditions, takes advantage of the existing knowledge and provides the desired economic and environmental benefits.