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A new fertiliser promises to boost grassland yields, quality and palatability for dairy, beef and sheep producers. Launched by Origin Fertilisers, the sustained release... New grassland fertiliser ‘delivers huge benefits’

A new fertiliser promises to boost grassland yields, quality and palatability for dairy, beef and sheep producers.

Launched by Origin Fertilisers, the sustained release multi-nutrient fertiliser is called Origin Sweet Poly Power. Based around ICL Polysulphate, it combines seven key nutrients in a balanced formulation with proven benefits in grassland production.

“It adds sodium, a key element of our Sweetgrass grassland blends, to form a high performing fertiliser for all livestock producers with both productivity and environmental benefits,” says Mandy McAulay, of Origin Fertilisers.

Nutrient release

At the heart of the product is Polysulphate – a mix of sulphur, potassium, magnesium and calcium – all in a prolonged release plant-available form. It provides the exact amount of these essential nutrients required by grass through the growing season.

“The nutrient release has been proven to last for up to 55 days – so not only are grass yields maximised, it also reduces potential leaching of key nutrients from the soil,” explains Ms McAulay.

Nitrogen and phosphate – where required – are added together with a low hygroscopic, specially coated sodium to increase grass palatability and dry matter intake, she adds.

“The product provides up to seven key nutrients in one application – nitrogen and sulphur to drive growth and protein formation, phosphate for root and shoot growth, potassium to aid water regulation, magnesium to support photosynthesis, calcium to improve animal health and sodium to improve grass palatability.

“Depending on requirements and the results of soil testing, we can fine-tune the formulation to deliver a prescription nutrition solution specifically matched to individual soil and crop nutrient needs.”

Sulphur success

Richard Ward of ICL, which mines Polysulphate from under the North Sea, says the multi-nutrient fertiliser has much to offer grassland producers.

“If you look at sulphur for a start, atmospheric levels have diminished significantly over recent years as industry has become more aware of pollution and the farmyard manures and slurries we are all being encouraged to use more of contain very little.

“Yet we know sulphur is essential in driving nitrogen utilisation and building essential crude protein levels in grass. So, if you are not applying sulphur, you won’t be able to get the most out of any of the nitrogen sources you have, including organic ones.

“You’ll probably also have to buy in more inorganic nitrogen to make up the shortfall.

“With its 48% sulphur content and slow release nature, Polysulphate is the ideal way to ensure you have sufficient sulphur available to use all N as efficiently as possible.

“If you’re going to be relying more on clover and legumes in your grassland in the future, as encouraged by the latest SFI, again Polysulphate is essential in making sure you use all the nitrogen produced by these as effectively as you can.”

Proven benefits

Trials have shown this sustained nutrient supply can help deliver a 29% increase in grass yields with a 10% increase in drymatter.

“All in all, these improvements lead to denser, heavier, more nutrient-rich forage which, combined with the increased palatability and digestibility from a lift in sugars of over 9%, produces healthier, more productive animals for the same, or less, cost.”

Origin Fertilisers technical director Peter Scott says the company’s own trials on Polysulphate have highlighted improvements in the all-important crude protein of forage.

“We’ve seen positive trends in terms of forage yield, but it’s in the area of nutritional value and mineral content where we have seen the biggest gains,” he explains.

“In one particular trial we saw a significantly improved N:S ratio in forage which resulted in a 56.3% lift in the amount of sulphur contained in the forage and a corresponding crude protein increase of nearly 7.5%.

“By combining the benefits of Polysulphate with the added palatability from Sweetgrass’ sodium and the protected nitrogen and potash from our Poly Power range, Sweet Poly Power is a fertiliser with significant benefits for grassland producers.”