Plan your fertilizer requirements now
It was a good week weather-wise so field work has progressed. Plenty of fodder beet and potatoes were harvested. Beet yields are good with average yields between 25-30t/ac. It is making an average price of €35/t loaded. This gives an excellent return for this particular crop this year. It is also good feeding value for winter feeders when compared with finished rations of more than €250/t or cereals at €200/t.
Beet sales are slow which proves that growers should try to have at least 80pc of their produce pre-sold. Sugar beet commands a €3/t premium.
Chemical fertilisers are likely to be expensive in spring next year (see table 1). Now is the time to plan forward and minimise your expenditure. Fertiliser input costs are the single biggest expense for tillage crops and varies between 35-50pc of total costs (€85-125/ac), depending on crop type and fertility index. However, there are significant savings to be made with the proper use of organic manures (see table 2).
Regarding pig slurry, it should be noted that the actual source is important. For example, pig slurry from fattening units is much higher in nitrogen and lower in phosphorous. Slurry from sows is very low in dry matter and consequently there are higher haulage and application costs.
It should also be noted that nitrogen from cattle and other livestock manure is deemed to be 40pc available, while farmyard manure is 30pc. Pig and poultry manure is deemed to be 50pc available. All phosphorous in these manures is deemed to be 100pc available.
Poultry manure has also become more available. Care should be exercised in taking this product onto the farm as there is a huge variation in the analysis of the various types (see table 3).
The amount of these products that can be used is greatly influenced by the analysis contained in the product.