Teagasc and FAI launch phosphorus-focused bulletin

A bulletin entitled ‘The Efficient Use of Phosphorus in Agricultural Soils’ has been launched by the Fertiliser Association of Ireland (FAI) in conjunction with Teagasc.

The bulletin provides advice on the efficient and sustainable use of phosphorus (P) for grassland and tillage crop production.

It outlines guidance on recommended rates of P and suitable fertiliser products to meet grass and tillage crop demands during the growing season.

At the launch, Mark Plunkett, Teagasc’s soil and fertility expert, said: “Completing a farm fertiliser plan is essential for calculating phosphorus allowances on farms this year, considering the extra concentrate feed used on many farms in 2018.”

Farm P allowances have changed under the new Nitrates Action Plan and higher rates are now available to build-up soil P levels on intensively-stocked livestock farms.

Peter Ging, the president of the FAI, highlighted at the publication launch that “the efficient use of P on grassland farms will be vital in 2019 to help replenish winter feed stocks over the coming months”.

Dr. David Wall, from Teagasc Johnstown Castle, outlined: “The application of P needs to be matched with grass growth depending on soil type.”

Dr. Wall recommends that P be applied over the coming weeks based on soil test results and weather conditions.

He explained: “Apply P on the more free-draining soils first to drive grass growth and delay application on the heavier and more poorly-drained soils until conditions improve, to ensure sufficient P availability to meet increasing grass demand as grass growth increases.”

Tim Sheils, of J. Bolger and Co, an agri-merchant in Co. Wexford, said: “When developing a suitable fertiliser plan, it is important to select the correct fertiliser products and apply at the appropriate rate based on recent soil test results.”

Further information on phosphorus and other soil fertility considerations is available on the Fertiliser Association of Ireland’s website.