Fertiliser plans need firm commitment from farmers for long lasting results
Over the years I'm sure you have read lots of articles on fertiliser use. Most are technically strong with plenty of well-researched information and advice for farmers how to get the best from fertiliser use/fertiliser plans based on recent soil samples, advice on slurry/organic fertiliser use and timing of fertiliser application.
Here, I will try to highlight what I see going wrong on farms and finish off with outlining some of the changes in the new nitrate regulations.
Nutrient Management Plans
Teagasc's new planning programme (NMP), which we are all obliged to use, is a great improvement on previous planning programmes.
However, it will only give results at farm level if there is an input at the planning stage from the farmer and if it is implemented.
Yield is determined by the most limiting factor.
If field features such as soil type, compaction, drainage, elevation etc are limiting yield potential, additional fertiliser will do very little for your pocket, apart from making it lighter. With our current grain prices, poorer fields should be reseeded with grass or maintained as fallow.
Fields which yielded highest last year, and expected to do the same this year, need more phosphorus (P) and potash (K) than lower-yielding fields.