With the middle of the grazing season fast approaching, farmers should now aim to maximise grass growth during the long summer days of July.
Post grazing application
Grass growth rates have steadily increased in the last number of weeks and it is an ideal opportunity now to eliminate a round or two of Nitrogen (N) application.
It is still recommended to spread N after each grazing, even at lower stocking rates, where the level of N applied can be reduced to as low as 12-15 units per acre. Chemical fertiliser rates should be calculated by allowing for the available N contained in any recent organic fertiliser applications. Where soil fertility is below optimum, a NPK product with increased N should be used such as Target Fertilisers’ 27-2.5-5+S CCF or 24-2.2-4.5+S.
In an intensive grass system with high stocking rates, farmers can apply up to 30 units after each grazing. Depending on location, recent growth rates vary between 50kg and over 80kg DM/ha/day. According to PastureBase Ireland, many farmers are using 20kg N per acre in this rotation following grazing.
Farmers should aim for a pre-grazing yield of between 1,100 – 1,500kg DM/ha and our advice is to take out surplus covers as high-quality baled silage.
The application of N maintains a high-quality leafy grass ahead of stock, maximising live-weight gain (LWG). Total N application and the timing of the application should be carried out with compliance to the Nitrates Regulations.
Sulphur application and benefits
Sulphur (S) should be used in conjunction with N application as this will increase N uptake and N use efficiency. Sulphur is essential for the formation of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Lighter soils tend to be more prone to S deficiencies as this is related to the lower organic matter content.
For grazing swards, apply 20kg/ha or 16 units/acre over the grazing season, the same after each cut of silage.
When requiring a fertiliser to increase levels of S, consider spreading a product such as Target Fertilisers’ Supercan CCF (27 N) that contains 4 units of S. UREAMAX (46% N + NBPT) may be used in present weather conditions as it is both financially and environmentally friendly.
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