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After a significantly mild autumn, where winter crops were sown in ideal conditions and through a relatively kind winter, most crops are appearing well visually. However, in recent days it can be seen that some crops are turning pale green to yellow in colour, which would indicate symptoms of Nitrogen (N) deficiency. These crops will get enough N supplementation in the short term from compound fertiliser application, but it is important to keep them supplemented to maintain tiller numbers.

Ground conditions are favourable in most tillage areas at the moment, and fertiliser application has commenced on winter cereals including winter barley, wheat and oats. Now is the time to address Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) needs and identify your N & S requirements. You ideally need to have soils at Index 3 for optimum P & K. To this end, application must meet crop nutrient off-take of P and K based on the expected yield of the crop. At Index 1 and 2, additional levels of P and K are required because of the lower nutrient status of the soil. All fertiliser application decisions should be made following recent soil tests.

It is important to talk to your advisor about constructing a suitable fertiliser programme for your crop to match your off-takes and the soil fertility status of particular fields. Choose your requirements from the extensive range of fertilisers developed by Target Fertilisers specifically for tillage crops.

Pulse Crops

By now, sowing has also commenced on pulse crops such as beans and peas where soil conditions are favourable. Pulses do not require any N application as they are legumes which fix their own N from the atmosphere. It is not advisable to use N based compounds on these crops as recent trials have shown that it prohibits nodulation in the early stages of development. The plant should be left to scavenge to encourage nodulation from an early stage and fix its own N. For this reason, Target Fertilisers have developed a suitable blended compound, with no N, called PULSE XTRA (0:9:18 +Ca + S), specifically for application on pulse crops. PULSE XTRA also contains 6% Calcium (Ca) and 4% Sulphur (S) to meet the needs of the crop. Target Fertilisers recommend an application rate of 2-4 bags per acre at sowing, depending on your soil index.

Spring Cereals

Farmers should have a fertiliser programme in place at this stage, with the assistance of their advisor, for their spring cereals and decide what their rotation will be.

For spring cereals (barley, oats & wheat), it is very important to apply all compounds into your seed bed, and depending on the end destination of your crop, adjust N timings to suit the end use of grain e.g. for malting barley apply some N to your seed bed to reduce protein.

Demand for Compounds with High Potassium Content

In recent years, Target Fertilisers have seen the demand for compounds with high K content increase. This is to be expected with increasing yields giving the requirement of over 85 kg/ha, depending on the crop being sown. To this end, many of the compounds developed by Target Fertilisers contain over 20% K and most have added Sulphur (S). The S recommendation for cereals is 15 kg/ha per season.

This demand has increased over the years for several reasons:

  • Higher yields
  • Higher crop off-take
  • Low K status observed from extensive soil testing
  • Higher yielding varieties.

When adequate K is applied to cereals, it can pay for itself by improving exploitation and N use efficiency in the plant.  Protein content, grain size and quality is increased, resulting in less screenings at harvest. K increases water transpiration and regulation in the plant, which was very evident last year during the drought, where higher yields were consistent with high K application.

Phosphorous (P), similarly to K, will be needed at levels to meet Index 3 status and a top up will be needed for Index 1 and 2 soils to raise the levels. It should be noted that, maximum levels are allowed under the regulations SI 605 /2017, therefore, do not exceed those levels, for environmental reasons.

Sulphur should have its place in all tillage compounds, as it is now considered essential in tillage cropping. Most tillage soils are deficient in S, especially in areas with light or sandy soils and soils with low organic matter. This is because Sulphate is mobile, water soluble and easily leached.

S is a constituent element of two amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. S is applied at a low level and there are no environmental risks associated. It is very cost effective as it increases N efficiency within the plant.

TARGET FERTILISERS have a wide range of tillage compounds available for Irish farmers. Choose from our extensive range to your meet soil and crop requirements.

TARGET FERTILISERS can add trace elements, where required, to any of our compounds below:

NPK(S) Cereals N P K S B Mg Ca
10-10-20 10 10 20
10-3-28 + S 10 3 28 3
10-5-25 + S 10 5 25 3
10-7-25 + S 10 7 25 3
10-8-20 + S 10 8 25 2.5
10-8-25 + S 10 3 25 2.5
11-7-23 + S 11 7 23 3
12-8-20 + S 12 8 20 3
13-6-20 + S 13 6 20 3
14-5-20 + S 14 5 20 3
14-7-14 + S 14 7 14 3
15-10-10 + S 15 10 10 3
15-3-20 + S 15 3 20 3
16-7-14 + S 16 7 14 3
18-4-12 + S 18 4 12 3
18-6-12 +/- S 18 6 12 3
19-0-15 + S 19 0 15 3

 

 

To learn more about Target Fertilisers’ products for the tillage sector, click here.

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