Plan to drive on grass growth this spring

By Rosalyn Drew, NitroFert Ltd

We are half way through March already and there is a backlog of work to be done in fields in preparation for grazing and silage.

Grass is key to success on Irish grassland farms and, due to the poor weather and late spring, there is a need now to drive on grass growth fast.

In order to maximise grass growth and quality this spring, farms will require good planning and careful fertiliser management.

The potential to produce a top-quality product off grass – in a sustainable way – is what gives the Irish dairy and drystock sectors a serious competitive advantage on world markets.

For this reason, grassland farms must aim to produce high quantities of quality grass in the most efficient and profitable way possible.

Start with the soil

When improving the quality and quantity of your grass, start with the soil. The top grass farms are producing 18t/ha per annum of dry matter (DM). When compared to the national average figure of 8t/ha per annum, this leaves a big scope for improvement.

According to Teagasc figures, only 10% of Irish farms are at optimum soil fertility. By selecting the correct product to suit your soil and system, farms can yield a significant return on fertiliser investment.

DairySelect – for a fast response from your grass

Unique to NitroFert, the DairySelect range is a selection of high-performance fertilisers designed to meet the demands of today’s grassland farms.

These highly-soluble nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium fertilisers give a much faster response to grass than other products on the market and, because they are urea free, they are suitable for spreading throughout the season.

How does DairySelect work?

As the diagram below illustrates, DairySelect gets to work faster than other products. This is because it has better ground coverage (more granules/m²) and the nutrients are closer to the grass root – so uptake to the plant is quicker.

Due to its hydroscopic properties, DairySelect is a very effective product that dissolves quickly in the soil – leaving no hulls sitting on top of the ground surface – and helps speed up paddock turnaround.

This also makes it a very efficient product that will have less loss of nutrients in heavy rain or very dry weather.

DairySelect gets to more of the roots quicker due to dense ground coverage and hydroscopic properties. Other products are slower to dissolve into the ground, are located further away from the plant root and take longer to work

The importance of sulphur

Products within the DairySelect range also contain sulphur. Over 30% of Irish soils are deficient in sulphur, which is essential for grass growth and nitrogen efficiency.

By applying sulphur little and often to soils which are deficient, it will help lift grass sugar content, DM yield and quality. Grass silage crops require approximately 20kg of sulphur per cut and, as there is very little sulphur in slurry, fertiliser sulphur is a key input for productive grassland.

Easy to spread

DairySelect granules are uniform in size and high density, which give consistent high quality and ease of use of spreading up to 24m (proven in independent field trials).

This is a very free-flowing product that is exceptionally clean and dust-free. We recommend to always set your spreader according to the manufacturer’s guidelines for application and spread pattern.

Ireland’s top grassland farmers recognise the huge benefits of using DairySelect. Paul and David Hyland, from Co. Laois, explain why NitroFert and DairySelect works for them in the below video.

Why Ireland’s top dairy farmers are using DairySelect

More information

DairySelect is available from merchants and co-ops throughout Ireland. For details on your nearest supplier, contact NitroFert at: 051-425169 or email at: [email protected]. Click here for more information