Get correct fertiliser out on silage ground before it is too late
While Wet, Wet, Wet's comeback gig finished in Dublin last Christmas, the environmental version of wet, wet, wet is still pretty evident around these parts at the moment.
Grazing has been difficult over the past month with the milking cows only out 18 days in total since they first started grazing on March 13. The farm dry-matter cover measured last week was 586kg/ha.
There are some paddocks with good covers but are just very wet. I know when conditions come good that grass will take off as soil temperatures seem good. Paddocks that got nitrogen on March 14 have responded well. It's just a pity I didn't do more of them. The silage ground that got the slurry is also doing very well. I didn't get the other block of silage ground slurried and at this stage it is too late.
Slurry certainly worked well this year as any field that got it is very green and healthy looking. I am hoping that, by the time this is being read, I will have sown the fertiliser on all the silage ground.
Teagasc have prepared a fertiliser plan for me this year. I got the last remaining fields soil-sampled, so I now have all my land, both owned and rented, sampled over the last three years.
We took 16 samples representing 55.1ha. More than half of the land is at Index 1 or 2 for phosphorus. For potassium levels, even more – 58pc – of my ground is at Index 1 or 2.
The plan is very specific as it recommends what type of fertiliser is required in the low index blocks. The fertiliser requirement for me this year is 5t of 27-2.5-5, 34t of CAN, 2t of 16pc Super Phosphate and 1t of muriate of potash, which is 50pc potasium. Lime is also required since almost 90pc of the farm is under the target pH of 6.2. The total requirement is 179t of lime. I spread 65t of this in 2013.
I cannot grow grass to the maximum if lime and P&K levels are not correct so getting these levels up is a priority for 2014, even if it looks like compound fertilisers are increasing in price.