Spreading fertiliser in February can help slash winter feed costs
Ground conditions are poor at present but a few dry days would sort out most free draining soils, a fortnight or so will be required to sort out the heavier soils.
However, soils can soak fast at this time of year and it is vital that we assess the conditions of fields in the field and not in the farmyard.
Fodder is running low in many yards and it is important that we ensure that there is plenty of grass outside whenever cows do get out to graze it. 1kg of Nitrogen in spring will grow 10kgs of dry matter.
So to put this in real terms; if we spread 2 tonne of Urea across 80acres (23units/acre) in February, we will grow 9t of grass dry matter, which has the equivalent volume of feed of approximately 45 bales of silage (except of much higher quality).
One price I saw this week was for Urea at €345/t so this equates to €690 for the 2t, which equates to €15/bale. You won’t find too many bales around the country at this price.
Urea is generally the product of choice for springtime nitrogen for two reasons; 1. It is the cheapest source of Nitrogen available and 2. Its ability to bind with soil is better than CAN based products in times of high rainfall.
Of course having the grass outside in the field isn’t of much benefit if we don’t get out to eat it. The target is to graze 30pc of the farm in February and 60pc in March.
This equates to 1pc of the farm grazed per day in February and 2pc in March.