T-Sum may be rapidly approaching for many south western farms, but that is unlikely to encourage a sudden rush of fertiliser spreaders on to the fields.

Kemira Grow-How south west technical adviser Mike Sheppard says most farms in the area have enough conserved forage, so there is unlikely to be a rush to turn out.

“Most herds will be keen to have cows back at grass by 1 April due to seasonality payments kicking in then, but in the meantime, most herds will keep cows in until there is sufficient grass available.”

And with fertiliser prices showing little sign of falling, maximum use should be made of the nutrients available from slurry and farm yard manure, he adds.

Most farms are likely to leave fertiliser applications until the end of February for those turning cows out to grass in March or early March for an April turnout, he adds.

Farms across the UK have now seen T-Sum values pass the 100 mark, with the exception of the far north of England and central Scotland, where values linger between 50 and 90, says Stuart Bennett of ADAS.

“The south coast and south west of England lead the way, with values ranging from 130-163.

The western fringes of England follow closely.”

For those keen to spread once T-Sum 200 has been achieved ground conditions should be good in most areas, he adds.

“And while rainfall has been below normal across most of the country in January, there are no significant soil moisture deficits.”

The outlook for the next week suggests some low night-time temperatures, with little significant leap in T-Sum values, although the far south west of England and the Hebrides will touch T-200 next week.

fwlivestock@rbi.co.uk