Reports & Publications

Goulding Technical Fertiliser Bulletin

Posted on January 9, 2012

The following information has been extracted from the Goulding Fertilisers Technical Bulletin.

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  • The purpose of fertiliser application to grassland is to produce an appropriate level of soil fertility to support adequate crop growth (and animal performance) and to maintain an adequate level of soil fertility by replacing all nutrient off-takes, be they in the forms of milk, meat or crops, (grass/silage).
  • No ecosystem, whether natural or managed, is completely “leak-free” e.g. all soils whether fertilised or not give up finite quantities of nutrients to percolating water.
  • In order to accurately target soil nutrient deficiencies, soil
    analysis is critical.
  • Over 50% of all samples are deficient in Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) and a further 25 to 30% of soils require annual maintenance inputs of P and K i.e. to replace removals.
  • A deficiency of N restricts the growth of individual leaves (leaf size) and their photosynthetic capacity as well as restricting the number of tillers that develop.
  • Generally, herbage response to N application follows an initial linear phase of 15-30 kg DM/kg N, usually up to an application rate of within the range 250-400 kg N/ha.
  • Regardless of how much N is applied, the production of grass will be significantly less than its potential if other essential soil nutrients are deficient.
  • Restricting Nitrogen (organic and inorganic) levels on Irish dairy farms would significantly reduce farm income.
  • Phosphorus is very important for crop establishment and root development / growth and plays an important role in the nutrition of livestock.
  • Investigations into environmental deterioration of water bodies should first exclude point sources (both in-farm and off-farm) before considering diffuse sources.
  • The recent reduction in fertiliser K usage in Ireland is of particular concern.
  • In Sulphur (S) deficient areas, grass yields are substantially reduced especially in summer and early autumn.
  • Trace element deficiencies are occurring with increasing frequency in grassland.
  • The dry matter and level of nutrients in slurry can vary enormously.

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