The evidence that most grassland soils require the application of sulphur from fertilisers to maximise grass silage and grazing yields still mounts. Most farmers now appreciate that all light and medium soils, and even now some heavier loam soils, don’t release enough sulphur from organic matter to allow grass growth and quality to meet potential. They also realise that there is not enough available sulphur in slurries and manures to meet demand.
With the delays that have been experienced getting on to the land this spring don’t forget to ensure the nutrient requirement of your soil and plants is calculated in the dash to get crops planted or animals turned out.
We witnessed world prices for fertilisers fall towards the end of 2019, this has been helped further with a strengthening of the pound sterling. Manufacturers have now reset UK prices and are considerably cheaper than they were at the same time last year.
Many grassland farmers with a high stocking rate and significant feed inputs have moved away from using fertilisers containing P (Phosphate). But it’s important to know that even a maintenance application of P to keep soil indexes at target 2 can have an impact on grass yields.
Use soil sampling now to reduce on-farm costs in 2020. As we know the nutrient offtake is likely to have been higher in 2019 than the previous year, due to improved yields across a wide range of crops.