Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Target manure P and K applications for best results

March 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Crops


Farmers are being advised to target manure applications at fields with indices of two and below for phosphate and potash.

“Slurry and muck is a hugely valuable source of nutrients – worth around £270/ha in fertiliser replacement value,” says ADAS soil scientist John Williams, who will be speaking at Grassland & Muck about manure management to maximise nutrient efficiency.

“If a soil isn’t deficient then the nutrients are of less value, and the point is to make the biggest savings possible,” he explains.

Timing and application technique will influence the efficiency of nutrient uptake. Slurry should be separated because most of the phosphate and organic matter will be in the solids, with most of the available nitrogen in the liquid – that way you can better target its use.

It is also important to measure the quantity being applied. “Fresh farmyard manure is less dense than older manure, so use weigh cells or a weighbridge to calculate how much you’re applying,” says Mr Williams.

Decent and accurate equipment will ensure an even spread of material, with dribble bars or injectors minimising atmospheric losses from slurry and ensuring grass can be grazed or harvested more quickly, he adds.

Having measured the nutrient content in manures, top up with inorganic fertiliser to meet crop requirements. “There are lots of little tweaks that add up to major savings. Treat your muck like the valuable fertiliser it is and it will undoubtedly save you a lot of money.”