23 February 1996

Early bite still key concern

At last there is a good spread of green and yellow on the map across most of England and Wales and southern and western Scotland.

If T-sum has not yet arrived in these areas as indicated by a green square, then it should do so in the next week.

Kemira reports increasing use of T-sum Hot-lines as producers prepare to spread fertiliser in this late spring. The main concern is still early bite as opposed to applications for silage, which can wait a little longer with earliest cuts not anticipated before early May.

Provided fertiliser can be applied about eight weeks before cutting, silage should not suffer through excessive N. Applying fertiliser earlier, around T200, will help maximise yields.

As mentioned last week, one of the most efficient ways to use nitrogen for spring grazing is in the ammonium form. There are benefits to be had by applying phosphate at the same time, especially when the ammonium and phosphate are combined together in a granular compound fertiliser. As reported in Livestock, Jan 19, trials conducted by the Scottish Agricultural College have shown both increased yield of early grass and raised herbage phosphate levels when both the N and P are applied in this way. Fertilisers of this type with their higher-than-average ammonium content, are particularly suitable for applying around T-sum 200 for early bite.

&#8226 The farmers weekly/Kemira Hot-line is still open on 0151-357-5631.