When a lot of aspects of farming are out of our control, we need to focus on what we can manage by minimising any risks coming on to farm.
Certain management decisions bring in yield resilience rather than fragility and this can include a number of things. For example, we need to minimise nutrient loss and application costs whilst maximising application accuracy, all whilst having environmental costs in mind too. Having good quality inputs can address some of the risks so that we are managing risk out and not in.
Dry weather in spring means that crops need to be even more resilient to cope with the lack of moisture and have a root system that is large and deep enough to access water further down the soil profile. We need to maintain growth momentum once crops start growing again in the spring, which can be at quite low temperatures, 5°C for cereals and oilseed. Our first fertiliser application is vital as it gives the crop the best chance of accessing the nutrients applied as they are will have started growing before you’ve been able to get onto the land.
This can affect the fertiliser choice because not all nitrogen-containing fertilisers are plant-available straight away. Nitrates are the most available form for plants to take up immediately, without any conversions needing to occur, therefore ammonium nitrate (AN) products provide immediately available nitrogen to the crop. If we look at urea-based fertilisers they have to undergo a conversion in the soil before they become plant-available and therefore the crop has delayed access to the nitrogen.
Depending on soil conditions this can take 6-8 weeks and therefore we could really be slowing down the crop momentum; which we don’t want to do at that key timing in the spring. So, if you are concerned about this delay stopping crop momentum, apply a nitrate based fertiliser, such as YaraMila 52 S or ACTYVA S, as your first spring top dressing. Aim to apply the first 50-70 kg N/ha with either of these products that will also supply fresh, immediately available PK&S to these crops.
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