Gaining an accurate picture of soil health and ensuring it is making optimum contribution to the growth of grass and other forage crops can help reduce fertiliser bills said Glenside Group technical director, Robert McCoull speaking at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show.

“Using the Albrecht soil survey will provide customers with a full picture of their soils chemical and physical state and often identifies the sort of imbalances that might be missed by less detailed.

“And correcting the shortage of magnesium and high calcium can achieve better autumn establishment, and as a result farmers could cut next springs nitrogen applications by up to 15kg/ha,” suggested Mr McCoull.

“Many farmers are still using more fertiliser than necessary to compensate for their soils’ inability to allow plants to use applied fertiliser efficiently. In many cases this is because nutrient and trace elements imbalances remain undetected-either because no soil test has been done,
or because they were not accurate enough to detect small signals that indicate a problem.

Mr McCoull said most farmers working with Glenside have cut fertiliser applications by up to 50%.