19 June 1998

Testing pays dividends

TESTING the N content of growing cereal crops looks set to pay dividends this season, ensuring full grain fill in crops which may have run short otherwise.

Results from Hydros Precision Tester have shown clear differences in nitrogen status between crops, highlighting the value of site-specific nitrogen planning, says the companys Jim Lewis.

"It really helped show where thick, lush crops had used reserves and needed further feeding to avoid inadequate grain fill and where nitrogen was lost due to wet weather and needed replacing.

"We have had results from all over the country and they really have shown how sensitive the tester is. It has even shown the need for more N as soil type varies across individual fields."

The tester costs £1200 or £500/year on lease. This year 100 units were in use, several by farmers themselves. Typical extra N input has been 40kgN/ha. &#42