21 February 1997

All lowlands set to spread

It will be a busy week for grassland farmers in almost the whole of lowland England and Wales, Northern Ireland and the west of Scotland. T-sum 200 has either arrived or is forecast to arrive before the next issue of FARMERS WEEKLY drops on the mat.

The weather last week was a welcome reminder that common sense must prevail because no one was able to spread in the wet and windy conditions. As ever, ensure that ground conditions are fit to take the spreader. If you need low ground pressure tackle its probably an indication that the soil is too waterlogged for efficient fertiliser use.

Also, check the weather forecast before setting off, as impending very heavy rain could cause surface run-off of otherwise valuable nutrients.

The dry weather earlier this spring has meant that large amounts of slurry have been spread effectively. Dont forget to take the nutrient content into account. A typical application of slurry is 30cu m/ha (2600gal/acre) which will supply 30kg/ha P2O6 and 105kg/ha K2O.

Finally, if spreading for first-cut silage at T-sum, Kemira experiments have indicated a benefit in splitting dressings in early T-sum years, but little or no benefit in average or late years.

This year, if the spreader is properly set up, applying all the first-cut fertiliser in one dressing should be efficient.

For up-to-date information on your local T-sum, as usual call the FARMERS WEEKLY/Kemira hotline on (0151-3575631).