Helen Harris: 'We are ringing the changes on our fertiliser strategy'
The fine weather saw us get a huge amount of work done in the last few weeks. The crops have really taken off and we are seeing the benefit of the recently applied fertiliser kicking in.
Last year when we sowed the spring barley, it was followed by weeks of dry weather and you could see the undissolved fertiliser sitting on top of the ground weeks later.
The plant was looking for the nutrients and the dry ground meant that the small white ball of fertiliser sat beside it without melting into the ground to feed it.
This year we have been much luckier with the conditions. The soil is dry enough to travel and yet damp enough to allow the fertiliser to dissolve.
We have had to have a serious look at our fertilisers this year and not just because of the drought last year. We have to ask ourselves how much of last year's unused fertiliser is still in the ground? How do you quantify that?
The other concern was the Department guidelines for using chicken litter.
My understanding was that all types of chicken litter had to be ploughed down, due to the risk of spreading botulism and other diseases.
Many tillage farmers are now min till or no till so this would mean that chicken litter is no longer an option.