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The purpose of this Concerted Action is to provide a link between national programmes, pooling data, and harmonizing practices. With the large amount of effort that is being devoted to the problem of nitrogen nutrition in the potato crop, the outstanding requirement is the development 0 a forum or network that will enable researchers throughout Europe, and in co-operating countries, to collaborate, to exchange ideas, to develop common protocols. A principal focus of the Action will b collectively to develop methodologies to be used, as appropriate, by producers, laboratories and policy makers and, ultimately, to develop a definition of how decisions should be made by growers and managers to optimize the nitrogen nutrition of their crops. The objectives are to:- Develop means for farmers to grow potato crops in which the supply and demand for N are in balance, so as to limit losses of N to the environment, and yet to maintain yield levels. Provide a rational assessment of the value of animal.manures; thereby to optimize a resource, minimize a pollution problem, and minimize on the energy and other costs of mineral N. And, as a necessary corollary to develop means for farmers to optimize demands on water resources by using only sufficient water to capitalise on available N while avoiding both stress and leaching, or by alternative procedures including methods of controlled drainage. These each lead to subsidiary but contributory objectives detailed in Section 2 'Work Content'.
And, finally, as a necessity to give value to the outcome of the Action it will address dissemination of its work in four ways: (i) Publish a handbook of methods to assist practitioners in the field in the methods and procedures to use, written and produced with the practitioner in mind. (ii) Outline the requirements for a computerized decision support system. (iii) Prepare plans for a Demonstration Project. (iv) Convene a special meeting between participants, representatives of the Commission, and National representatives of the water and/or agricultural industries to seek ways to promulgate the findings.
The proposals to be outlined are consistent with the objectives of Sub-Area 4.1 of the AIR II Workprogramme (p8, first objective; p53-4, Research Task 4.11) and specifically, they aim to determine and then 'promote crop production techniques whici permit a reduction of inputs (and) better protection oemenvironm toldevelop water management models for Preserving crops when precipitation is irregular.

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Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI)
DD2 5DA Dundee
United Kingdom

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Participants (20)