8 March 1996

Another T-sum season over

Warm weather last week brought the arrival of T-sum 200 to all but the highest and most exposed areas of Britain. This will, therefore, be the last map for 1996. This season has proved later than average, but not extreme, and there is still a chance to capitalise on early grass for grazing, providing fertiliser applications are made straight away. February has also been a wetter month than usual but ground conditions in most locations are reported to be good for spreading. It is, of course, important not to spread on waterlogged ground or when heavy rain is imminent.

Fertiliser for silage should be applied at least eight weeks before cutting – a job due in the next fortnight. Applications of slurry to silage ground should also be stopped unless absolutely necessary, to avoid contamination of the sward and subsequent risk to fermentation.

Machines have been calibrated and spreading is under way on the 69ha (170-acre ) Kemira Grassland 96 site at Stoneleigh where the triennial demonstration takes place on May 22 and 23. Visitors will be able to discuss T-sum at the Kemira exhibit, and see the worlds leading forage machines in action harvesting the crop. All topics covered in this T-sum column since January will be featured either by the organisers, or by the 170 or so exhibitors.

Although the farmers weekly/Kemira hotline is now officially closed, Kemiras Roger Chesher is available to discuss grassland issues on 0151-357 5631.