Teagasc is urging all farmers not to delay spreading the remainder of their slurry this autumn.
The nitrogen in slurry spread in September can have a higher impact on grass growth. As grass growth reduces from September onwards, the capacity to take up nitrogen (N) reduces steadily.
Any N not used by grass is susceptible to leaching when autumn and winter rains come – particularly in free-draining soils.
Good practice this autumn
- Look at your grass covers and identify if your farm has a sufficient supply of grass;
- Identify paddocks that are likely to respond to additional Nitrogen based on soil conditions, grass covers and soil fertility;
- At this point, no more than 20Kg N per hectare is justified. In situations where there are significant grass covers and moderate to low stocking rate, it is likely that no chemical fertiliser is required.
- Last date for spreading chemical N&P is midnight on September 14th;
- Apply remaining slurry as soon as possible using low emissions slurry equipment where available.
This will lead to:
o Good uptake of the Nitrogen in slurry by the plant and avoiding losses to water from late applications;
o Avoiding the risk of not being able to empty tanks, if weather conditions worsen;
o Save money by getting effective use of slurry nutrients;
o Empty tanks to protect your storage capacity for the spring.
Reducing nitrate loss to water is an essential part of protecting our environment and farm income, the state agency added.