Agronomy Advice
March 28, 2023

Focus on soil fertility and quality fertiliser this spring

As farmers start to think of applying phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) on grassland and newly sown crops this spring, many farmers will look no further than the versatile 18-6-12 to deliver the nutrient requirements for these crops this spring.

Grassland farmer reviewing the soil
Grassland farmer reviewing the soil

This is why 18-6-12 is the most popular NPK fertiliser grade in Ireland with sales of 214,000 tonne in 2022, which equates to 29% of the Irish NPK market.

The majority of these tonnes are used on grassland with many livestock farmers switching from straight nitrogen (N) to 18’s (as it’s commonly referred to as) from the end of March onwards to conveniently supply grazing paddocks with the P & K they need while providing the N needed to support grass growth.

This March/April period is an ideal time for P & K applications because it coincides with peak demand for soil nutrients as grass growth ramps up in April into May. Because of the nature of soil P dynamics in spring, the rate at which P in soil solution replenishes itself may not be enough to meet the demand of the fast growing grass crop, hence P can be a limiting nutrient at this time.

K similarly is an important nutrient in fast growing silage crops, but also for grazing. K is found in the sap of grass which is the fluid in and between plant cells, and K is also involved in N uptake by roots, so limited K can restrict N uptake. There can be a nervousness around K applications for grazing in spring, but if soil K fertility is index 3 or below, typical 18-6-12 rates for grazing should not be an issue.

It's common to use 18’s on silage fields, particularly on out farms where distance is a factor or if extra P & K is required to build soil fertility. There are no free lunches when it comes to soil fertility and particularly where silage is concerned. So it might seem excessive to some to use 18’s on silage fields, but it can be the most economical and convenient fertiliser grade to maintain good silage yields or build soil P & K fertility on silage fields, and in many cases both.

Introducing YaraMila New 18’s + 2.5% S

This guaranteed Complex Compound Fertiliser (CCF) is manufactured in our Glomfjord plant on the West coast of Norway. So what makes YaraMila New 18’s + 2.5% S different from our competitors blended 18’s? It all boils down to its physical quality and composition. Because each granule has the same physical characteristics, the spread pattern is more predictable and this leads to more accurate spreading. The composition of these products results in more landing sites for each nutrient, because every granule contains N, P, K and sulphur (S) in the exact same ratio as the product analysis.

Because Yara is the only fertiliser brand in Ireland that manufactures all its own fertiliser, we have complete control of the manufacturing process and have full traceability of our products from plant to farmgate. If you’re looking to buy 18’s this spring, don’t settle for less. Buy the only CCF product on the market and safeguard your soils fertility. Remember our guarantee – ‘what’s on the bag is in the bag’.