As the fertiliser market continues to struggle with elevated prices and supply chain issues, the first session of this year’s Tillage Conference taking place on Thursday, January 13, at 11.30a.m will present research findings that aim to support farmers’ decision making for the 2022 season.

Teagasc Tillage Conference: What’s on the agenda?

Richie Hackett will review actions to reduce fertiliser inputs while assessing crop optimum Nitrogen (N) rates, based on N and grain prices. Alternative strategies to consider if supplies tighten further will also be discussed.

David Wall will re-appraise the importance of soil testing as the primary action to complete before drawing up a fertiliser plan for 2022.

If the plan includes animal manures, which offer potential savings to reduce the impact of high fertiliser prices, their nutrient value must be determined in order to maximise impact and cost effectiveness.

While some consideration can be given to reduce Phosphorus (P) / Potassium (K) on high index soils, this must be managed correctly to prevent future problems arising from reduced soil fertility.

Dermot Forristal will deal with break crops and precise application of fertiliser, particularly urea.

Current fertiliser prices makes it essential to apply fertiliser evenly and where growers are tempted to use less expensive urea-based products, achieving an even spread at wide bout widths, with a lower density product, can be a challenge.

Fertiliser quality, spreader design and particularly the availability and correct use of fertiliser manufacturers test databases, are essential to ensure that fertiliser is spread evenly.

In contrast to cereals, oilseed rape is a unique crop that is capable of taking up and efficiently using soil N over the autumn and winter period, reducing the amount of N required in the main growing period. Oak Park research is currently validating this canopy management approach to N determination.

In the current year with some very big canopies post winter, there is indeed scope to save up to 100kg N/ha which is worth €250/ha at 2022 fertiliser prices.

Heading into spring 2022, the benefit of incorporating legume break crops (beans, peas, lupins) in rotations will also be highlighted as will their potential to reduce the amount of fertiliser N through the rotation, without compromising crop yields.

Register today for the Virtual Tillage Conference by clicking here