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Nutrient Management Planning Online - another string to your bow

One technology, which can have a positive effect on the double edged sword of rising fertiliser prices and agricultural sustainability, is the Teagasc Nutrient Management Planning NMP online tool. Dr Michele McCormack, Economist, Agricultural Catchments Programme discusses farmer uptake of NMP

In recent times, phrases like “the rising cost of fertiliser” and “agricultural sustainability” are very familiar to the agricultural community. This community consists of farmers, farm organisations, knowledge transfer specialists and researchers all working on the same team, trying to preserve and protect this important indigenous sector for future generations. The role of research is to identify innovations and technologies that play a crucial role in future proofing the industry. Behavioural scientists also have a role in identifying the main influences around farmer decision making and adoption of new technologies, because if the technology is not adopted then it cannot be effective.

Teagasc Nutrient Management Planning (NMP) Online tool

One such technology, which can have a positive effect on the double edged sword of rising fertiliser prices and agricultural sustainability, is the Teagasc Nutrient Management Planning (NMP) Online tool. This innovation allows agri-professionals to produce high quality nutrient management plans for farmers by combining their expert knowledge of soil fertility with a range of information sources. Teagasc research in relation to farmer adoption of a NMP has identified farmer attitudes and perceptions, prior to adoption, to be significant predictors of future intention to adopt. In particular, two distinct perceptions of a NMP are considered to be key factors. Firstly,  a farmer’s perception of the usefulness of a NMP, Perceived Usefulness (PU) and secondly, a farmer’s perception of how easy a NMP is to use , Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU). If a farmer perceives a NMP to be useful and easy to use there is a higher likelihood of adoption.

Results from a survey of farmers participating in the Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP), indicate that the strongest factor influencing future intentions to adopt a NMP was the farmer’s PU of a NMP to his/her overall farming business. This result would indicate that in order to create a positive attitude towards the adoption of a NMP the usefulness of the technology in terms of increased profitability, improving nutrient management practices, labour and time saving advantages should be highlighted and clearly communicated to farmers. While the PU was the most important factor, PEOU which reflects farmer perceptions in relation to their own ability to adopt the technologies, is also significant. Therefore, practical information on how to use the NMP for their farm, such as one-to-one instruction, in-field demonstrations or free trials could also improve uptake at farm level.

Full paper available in the Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research

Figure 1. Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) with NMP Online being the technology in this study. Source Davis (1989)

Davis FD. 1989. Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly. Vol. 13:319–340.

Further Information

The Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP) is running a week of social media releases showcasing some of its activities from Monday 21 February to Friday 25 February.  The week’s theme is  “Working Together for Water Quality”.   More details of what is on can be found at www.teagasc.ie/ACPweek22 


The Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP) was established in 2008 and is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine