Arable andgrassland farmers should ensure that they have adequate supplies of fertiliserin store this winter to avoid being caught out in the event of an early spring,advises the UKs leading supplier.
Following a veryearly harvest, good establishment conditions in the autumn and favourableweather since, most arable crops are well ahead and looking good going intowinter. The key will be to build on their potential this spring by applying thecorrect level of nutrients at the time when they are best able to respond,states Allison Grundy, Arable Agronomist for GrowHow.
The case forearly applications of nitrogen on winter barley has been proven by ADASresearch funded by GrowHow. Oilseed rape canopies may also change significantlybetween now and spring. Crops which currently have a large canopy could veryquickly require an early application of nitrogen in the spring should harshweather over the next few weeks reduce canopy size in order to achieve anoptimum canopy and yield above 3.5t/ha.
Grassland farmsare in much the same position as arable producers and if good weather allowsthem to turn cattle out early the need to apply fertiliser early will becomeparamount. Like arable farms grassland enterprises may need to considerapplying nitrogen fertiliser which contains Sulphur for the first dressing asthis can help grass and cereal crops to take up nitrogen, leading to improvedyields and quality.
Measuring SoilMineral Nitrogen (SMN) and Additional Available Nitrogen (AAN) in the springusing the GrowHow N-Min analysis to assess Soil Nitrogen Supply (SNS) moreaccurately will help growers tailor early and overall N applications. N-Minensures that crops receive just enough nitrogen to meet their requirements,taking into account any N contributed from applications of organicmanure/materials. Balancing P & K indices and maintaining adequate pHlevels all contribute towards achieving optimum crop performance and asimportantly, minimise adverse effects to the wider environment.
The question thatfarmers should be asking themselves right now is whether they have enoughnitrogen fertiliser, of the right type in store to compensate for that notsupplied from the soil and meet their crops requirement.