With chemical fertiliser prices soaring and availability limited, farmers “seriously” need to look at their farm’s soil profile.
That is the key message Keith Fahy, B&T Drystock Adviser, Teagasc Galway/Clare is conveying to farmers.
He said these price hikes were among other topics, including a lack of labour, possible power outages and fuel prices, which he discussed with farmer clients in recent weeks.
“It certainly is a year like no other. All this brings farmers back to the basics, and they were never as important.”
“Meal prices have gone up another €20-€30/tonne in the last few weeks. Some merchants are not even quoting fertiliser prices.”
“I spoke to three merchants about fertiliser. The conclusion is it cannot be got.”
“Even considering some prices have increased by up to €200/tonne in 12 months, farmers still cannot physically get fertiliser in their yards due to supply issues.”
“One merchant told me that before the chemical fertiliser deadline, some farmers paid up to €500/t for smaller amounts of 18-6-12. The same fertiliser started off around €330/t last January.”
“We need to make the most of the soil we have and ensure that we are as efficient with inputs as possible as they are too valuable to be wasting.”
“A tonne of fertiliser at current prices can cost up to €500, while lime is only €25/tonne,” he pointed out.
He said that there is a “large” amount of soil information available, given that a “large” proportion of beef and sheep farmers are partaking in environmental schemes.
“As part of GLAS, thousands of farmers took soil samples. A lot of farmers analysed these results carefully, but there were a lot of samples thrown in the back of the press also.”
He is encouraging farmers to consider spreading lime as prices continue to soar.
“Lime is the cheapest form of fertiliser. Without the correct pH, fertilisers will not work as well as they should,” he said.
Fahy pointed to Mark Plunkett’s news factsheet on lime that answers several common questions /myths about applying ground limestone to Irish soils.
Read this article.