Agronomy Advice
March 21, 2023

Boost grass supply and remedy soil fertility with YaraMila ExtraGrass

The aftereffects of last year’s lack of grass on many beef and sheep farms is still being felt. Sheep farmers are reporting lower ewe scanning percentages and poorer ewe condition this spring.

While beef and suckler farmers are running into issues with lower silage stocks and silage quality. Although the drought did play its part, probably a bigger factor was the price of fertiliser which resulted in a dramatic reduction in NPK use across these sectors.

It’s important to note that for farmers who did cut nitrogen fertiliser applications last year, doing so again this year will hit grass growth even harder this year as soil nitrogen supply is run down from 2022. Where phosphate (P) & potash (K) offtakes from grazing and silage were not met from fertiliser or manures last year, then soil P & K fertility will have declined. With lower P & K fertility comes a lower nitrogen response!

Applying a quality NPKS fertiliser like YaraMila ExtraGrass (27-5-5+6%SO3) at a rate of 125 kg/ha in March for grazing and again as required will increase grass supply at a critical time now on beef and sheep farms and ensure enough grass is grown to feed stock adequately through the season.

P is a key nutrient for grass. Its role in energy supply, root growth and tillering make its availability crucial for grass growth in the spring. The plants requirement for P is small in volume when compared to nitrogen BUT its availability is essential. For grazing, P applications from the end of March and into April and May is a key period, due to soils being cold and wet, but also an increasing grass P demand, as grass growth rates increase in April and peak in May.

Typically, the phosphate in fertiliser is 100% water soluble; this however creates its own problems. As soon as you apply water soluble phosphorus to a soil, this soluble phosphorus becomes slowly fixed by iron and aluminium. The phosphate contained in YaraMila ExtraGrass (27-5-5+6% SO3) is a mix of water-soluble phosphate and Di-Calcium Phosphate (DCP). This DCP is not fixed by the soil but becomes available as it is triggered by weak acids from grass root exudates. This ideal combination of two phosphate fractions rather than one results in superior availability of P for grass.

ExtraGrass is a quality uniform compound which can be spread uniformly, with a maximum of landing sites for each nutrient. Beware blended fertilisers will have only one tenth the number of P & K landing sites that ExtraGrass will have. You also have the assurance with a Yara product that the analysis printed on the bag is the analysis in the bag.