Opt for lime to boost crop growth
The past week has been busy on the land, with good drying conditions facilitating fertiliser and herbicide application on winter crops. Oilseed rape crops vary from nearly non-existent to full ground cover depending on the level of pigeon activity.
Fertiliser applied should contain boron and sulphur as rape responds well to these nutrients, especially on loamy soils. Residual herbicide application should have been completed by last month, and good activity is evident in treated fields.
The first fertiliser splits are being applied to winter crops. The quality of seedbeds is evident, with the majority of crops a good green colour before fertiliser application.
Crops which had been rolled in less-than-ideal conditions have browned off and are under stress, with leaf die back. Poor patches are evident, relating to variable soil type in the field, which have become compacted due to the initial damage at drilling and compounded by recent weather conditions.
Damaged headlands and weak patches in fields tend to deteriorate further with a drop in pH and subsequent poor fertiliser usage.
Growers have finally got the opportunity to roll winter oat crops, and this should help to stabilise the root systems and get the crop growing again with the help of applied fertiliser.
Reduced rates of phosphorous have been a common practice over the past few seasons, due mainly to the price of fertiliser and grain. Despite the current fertiliser prices, many growers realise that yields suffered last year due, at least partly, to low soil phosphorous levels. As a result, compounds with good phosphorous content are popular.
I have noticed quite a bit of lime being spread over the past few weeks particularly on grass, but also on ploughed stubbles. Lime is an essential component for good crop growth and the optimal usage of fertiliser.