1 March 1996

South is largely there…

Much of the south of England and the western half of the country, including west Wales, Northern Ireland, Anglesley and the Scottish Western Isles are now at T-sum 200. Improved weather has encouraged a number of producers to apply that first fertiliser dressing for early grazing.

Slurry applications for silage should not be delayed for late dressings can lead to a poor grass fermentation. In recent weeks many producers have been putting slurry out on grass intended for first cut. An average dressing of 2000gal/acre of slurry will supply about 16 units/acre of N, 11 of phosphate and 58 of potash in available form. This should be taken into account when planning fertiliser requirements.

Kemira advises that the first part of a split fertiliser dressing can now be applied to all green areas, when soil conditions permit, to swards for early cutting. It is important to remember that heavy crops of silage can remove large amounts of nutrients. Nitrogen and potash in particular, are required in large quantities. Sufficient potash is necessary to ensure that nitrogen is fully used and a typical 22t/ha (9t/acre) crop of silage will remove about 130kg/ha (110 units/acre) of potash.

Applying a good quality granular complex fertiliser is important for silage to ensure an even application and to avoid any segregation of nutrients. This will minimise the risk of striping and crop losses. FARMERS WEEKLY/Kemira Hotline is still open (0151-357 5631).