An effective fertilizer recommendation system requires information on seasonal, soil-related and cultural variations in soil mineral nitrogen (N) and nutrient requirements of the crop. This can be provided by dynamic N turnover models, such as listed by Plentinger & Penning De Vries (1996). In this paper, we describe a survey of farmer opinion designed to ascertain what farmers want from such a decision support system. Over 100 farmers were surveyed. Surveyed farmers requested that default values be available for all model inputs. Inputs should be entered both by windows-based menu (for clarity) and tabular format (for speed), have user-selected units, and be fully supported by context-sensitive help. The system should have a hierarchical structure allowing access to fixed parameters, and be compatible with commonly used farm recording packages. Recommendations should be provided both for the field (single and optional application rates), and in tabular format across the whole farm. Simulations should be easily rerun using more recent crop and weather data. Turnover processes underlying recommendations should be illustrated by flow diagrams of flux between pools, pie charts of fertilizer fate, bar charts of movement down the soil profile and graphical plots of changes in N status against time.
- Nitrogen fertilizers
- farmers' attitudes