Have you completed your fertiliser shopping list for 2019?

Farmers are coming under increasing pressure to maintain and improve air and water quality.So, it is important that they are getting the most efficient use out of their fertiliser.

Additionally, one of the biggest expenses on farms is fertiliser, so it is paramount that you are getting the best response out of it that you can and are using it in a sustainable manner.

The best way to do this is through the use of a fertiliser plan; otherwise you are just working in the dark.

Speaking at the recent precise application of fertiliser event last week, Mark Plunkett – Teagasc soil and plant nutrition specialist – outlined the importance of working from a plan when spreading fertiliser.

Why complete a fertiliser plan:
  • Regulatory requirements, in terms of N and P allowances;
  • Protection of air and water quality;
  • Determine the farms lime requirements for the year;
  • Determine the farms N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus) and K (potassium) requirements for the year;
  • Useful tool if contracting out spreading.

Another important reason why a plan should be compiled for 2019, Mark highlighted, was because “a lot of concentrates were fed during the 2018 drought – this will have a major impact on P allowances for 2019”.

Protected urea

Something to consider when shopping around for fertiliser in 2019 is protected urea.

Protected urea is essentially normal urea; coated with a substance that reduces the losses to air, when urea is broken down to ammonium.

Farmers have adopted the use of protected urea, not only because it is better for the environment, but because it can be spread during the main grazing season – rather than at the shoulders of the year; essentially replacing the use of CAN.

Finally, protected urea is food for thought for Irish farmers; as it is on track to becoming an important contributor of greenhouse gas mitigation on Irish farms in the future.