REDUCING OR stopping phosphate and potash (P and K) applications to cut costs could seriously jeopardise crop performance, growers have been warned.
Such P and K ‘holidays’ should only be used for a limited period without yield falling, if soil reserves are at an adequate level – over Index 3 for both, advised Masstock’s David Langton.
Fields with a P and K Index of 0-1 are unlikely to achieve full yield potential and if growers allow major nutrient levels to fall, it can take a long time to build them up again, he said.
Closely monitoring soil nutrient levels and the volume taken off by crops may seem time consuming, but it can help when considering cutting fertiliser application and will be a crucial aspect under cross-compliance, he said.
“Fertiliser Management Plans are going to be compulsory, but they should not be seen as more negative red tape. There’s an added value in putting one together as it will earn you Entry Level Stewardship points.”
Growers should also consider the value of organic manures, which can help build soil organic matter, nutrient levels and improve workability, he noted.
But those using manure will need to complete a Manure Management Plan, he added.