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The closing period for the application of chemical fertilisers is 15th September 2019, as set out under the Nitrates Directive and remains enforced in the south east until 12th January.

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Farmers should make every effort to spread over the coming days to and take advantage of good growing conditions we are currently experiencing, to maximise grass growth potential.

For the final application, Target Fertilisers CAN, Supercan CCF or 27-2.5-5+S are suitable products to maintain grass quality and growth for the remainder of the season. The application amount will differ for each individual farmer, depending on Nitrogen (N) allowances left for the remainder of the year. In most cases however, a 50kg bag per acre of N will suffice by 15th September.

Lime is another essential nutrient for good grass growth and proper efficiency of other applied nutrients. Farmers can continue to apply Lime and Potash in the closed periods. Potash can be spread in the form of Muriate of Potash (MOP) or Sulphate of Potash (SOP) to build up grass growth in accordance with soil tests. MOP containing 50% Potassium (K) is a cost-effective option, at approximately €8 per unit of K. When deciding on whether to use MOP or SOP for application, consult your advisor who will advise in accordance with your recent soil test results.

October deadline for organic fertiliser spreading 

All farmers have until October 15th to spread slurry on their land. Cattle slurry of 7% dry matter (DM) is worth 30 units of K per 1,000 gallons. Diluted slurry is worth much less. Some farmers, having taken advice, find it necessary to apply a bag of MOP per acre. The use of MOP is vital to replenish K levels to ensure that the silage crop next year will achieve its growth targets; when K is not replenished the nutrient status of the soil will decrease. Potash also plays a crucial role in the production of proteins and sugars within the sward.

Soil fertility

Planning soil sampling, soil testing and analysis is critical to the success of soil fertility and efficiency of fertiliser application. Fields that performed poorly during the season will benefit from a soil test to help identify the problem and find a solution to rectify it.

Where soil fertility is low and P & K build up is necessary, a compound could be used for the last application, with products such as Target Fertilisers 10-10-20 or 10-5-25+S. Do this in conjunction with your advisor.

For low index P soils, now is a good time to replenish them. Based on your most recent soil tests you can use Target Fertilisers’ 10-10-20 or 0-7-30 where no N is used.

Keep in mind the cut off date for application of N & P chemical fertilisers is the 15th of September but application of K and lime is permitted over the closed period. In all cases, talk to your advisor as they are aware of your locality, soil type and stocking levels.  Recent soil test results are essential to make good agronomic decisions for your farming enterprise.

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