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Frequently Asked Questions

We have put together a bank of questions and answers, that are asked regularly in Tegasc on different aspects of soil and soil fertility. These aspects include questions on Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus, as well as Nutrient Legislation and Trace Elements.

Here is a sample of some FAQ's and answers to accompany each question.

Manure Spreader

Q. What’s the typical rate of layer manure

A. It will depend on soil and crop requirement s.  A 5t/ha application rate will supply 58kg N/ha, 28kg P/ha & 60kg K/ha


Hen manure

Q. What’s the nutrient content of broiler manure?

A.  Available nutrient content 5.5kg N/t, 6.0kg P/t & 12kg K/t.


P Placement

Q. Which soils benefit most from P placement at sowing?

A. Soils at Morgan’s P index 1 and 2.


Lime application

Q.  How long should one leave between spreading lime and urea or slurry

A.  Where lime spread first leave 3 to 6 months.  Where urea or slurry spread first leave 7 to 10 days.


Nitrogen (N)

What is the difference between CAN (27% N) & Urea (46%N)?

CAN is a straight 27% N source which contains calcium. 50% of the N is in the nitrate form and 50% in the ammonium N form. Urea contains 46% N and all the N is in the ammonium form.

How long should one leave between spreading fertiliser N and slurry?

Slurry applied on fertiliser N creates ideal conditions for dentifrication, i.e., anaerobic conditions and high carbon compounds. It is recommended to leave 4 to 7 days before or after slurry spreading for application.

How long should one leave between spreading lime and urea?

Lime increases soil pH which increases rate of volatilisation of ammonia. Do not spread urea for 3-6 months after lime application.

How long should one leave between spreading urea/ slurry and lime?

Where urea is spread in advance of lime it will eliminate the risk of N loss through volatilization. It is recommended to leave 10 days between applying urea and lime.

How long should one leave between spreading slurry and fertiliser N?

Slurry is a carbon source and where fertiliser is spread directly after slurry application it will result in a loss in N. It is recommended to leave 4 to 7 days between the application of fertiliser N and slurry

Q. When should I start applying my 1st Nitrogen to my dairy grazing paddocks?

A. When soil temperatures reach 4 to 5 ̊C and weather is forecast to be mild then it would be suitable to apply 20 to 25 units N/ac (½ urea). Soil temperatures will vary depending on location so check soil temperatures with Met Eireann. Consider spreading slurry on bare paddock and apply fertilizer N in the next couple of weeks.


Is the soil test for phosphorus a test of plant available phosphorus or total phosphorus?

The Morgans soil P test measures plant available P.

Where a soil test shows a P index 4 for either grassland or tillage what is the advice in this situation?

Omit P applications for 2 to 3 years and re test the soil at that stage to monitor soil P levels.

What effect has soil sampling depth on soil P levels?

Soil P levels decrease with soil sampling depth as P is immobile it tends to remain in the top few centimetres of soil.


Potassium (K)

What is the % of K in Muriate of Potash (MOP)?

50% K

What is the % of K in Sulphate of Potash (SOP) and what % sulphur is in it?

42% K & 18% S

What is the maximum application of potassium on a grazing sward in the spring and why?

90kg/ha maximum application.  Reason why is to prevent grass tetany in grazing livestock

Where a soil test shows soil K levels are high (above 151 mg/L) what is the advice for grassland in this situation?

Omit K for one year and revert back to advice for K at soil Index 3 until the soil is tested again.

On light sandy soils should one aim to build soil K levels?

 Sandy soils have little ability to hold soil K.  Therefore apply maintenance applications of K annually.

Where a soil test is showing very low (Index 1) soil K levels. What is the best way to build soil K levels?

Apply organic manures such as cattle slurry / mushroom compost to build soil K levels.  Alternatively apply 50% K (MOP) depending on crop requirements.  It is good practice to apply fertiliser compounds containing K during the growing season for example 18-6-12 / 24-2.5-10 to replenish soil K levels over time.

Can lime and potassium be applied at the same time for example in the Autumn?



Q. What is the recommended rate of sulphur for grazing ground?

A. 20 kg S/ha/year

Q. What is the recommended rate of sulphur for grass silage ground?

A. 20 kg S/ha/cut

Q. When is the best time to apply S to grazing swards?

A. Apply in peak grass growing season. For example apply 4 to 5 units S /ac with each round of N applications from the 1st April.

Q. Will sulphur affect trace elements?

A. Excess sulphur on soils not deficient may reduce the uptake of copper and selenium in herbage.

Q. Which soils are most prone to S deficiency?

A. Light soils with low soil organic matter are generally more prone to S deficiency.

Q. Will slurry / FYM supply S?

A. Yes an application of 11m³/ha (1,000gal/ac) will supply approximately 4.5kg available S. An application of 10ton/ha FYM will supply approximately 9kg of available S.

Q. What is the best way to apply S?

A. Generally in fertilizer form. For example a compound (18-6-12+S) / straight N product (CAN +S) that contains between 3 to 5% S.

Q. Is it best to apply sulphur in a single application or in a little and often approach?

A. It can be applied as a single application for example ASN (26% N & 14%S). But where possible apply little and often.

Soil Sampling

Q. When is the best time of the year to soil sample?

A. September to March

Q. What is the typical soil sampling area?

A. It is recommended to take a soil sample every 2 to 4ha. Divide fields based on soil type, cropping history, known growth differences / previous performance etc.

Q. How often should I take soil samples?

A. Soil nutrient status changes relatively slowly, therefore base fertiliser advice on soils tests for 4 to 5 years

Q. What areas of fields should I avoid when sampling?

A. Avoid areas such spots as gate ways, dung / urine patches, old field boundaries, where lime / FYM has been heaped in the past.

Q. What is the correct depth for soil sampling?

A. Sample soils to 10cm (100mm).

Q. How long should one leave between soil sampling and P and K applications?

A. Leave 3 to 6 months

Q. How long should one leave between soil sampling and lime applications?

A. Leave 2 years

Q. How many soil cores are required to make up a soil sample?

A. Take a minimum of 20 soil cores per soil sample

Q. What elements should be requested for analysis from the laboratory?

A. Generally a standard soil test will have pH, Lime advice, P & K. Additional nutrients (Mg, Cu, Mn, Zn & B) are available at additional cost depending on the nutrient information / advice required.

Q. What is the typical cost of soil analysis?

A. A standard soil test will cost as little as €0.50c/ac/year

Trace Elements

Q. Can you build trace element levels in the soil?

Answer – In a continuous tillage systems it will be quite difficult to build soil trace element levels in the soil as tillage units are now specialized units. (No livestock enterprises). Where straw is chopped and cultivated back into the soil will help return and reduce the decline of soil trace elements. Organic manures offer the best opportunity to build soil trace element levels over time as for example pig / poultry / FYM / SMC etc can contain significant amounts of Cu, Mn & Zn.

Base fertilisers can also have trace elements added this would be a good nutrition policy where soils are low in trace elements. There is very little work carried out in this area so it is difficult to quantify changes in soil trace element status over time.

Q. What soil tests are available to measure soil manganese and how accurate are they at predicting a soil Mn deficiency?

There are a number of tests to determine the soil Mn. For example the total Mn test – This test is a very poor indicator of the soils available Mn status and very poor in detecting a Mn deficiency. Total Mn is generally used in combination with Cobalt, as the total Mn goes above 600ppm and soil Co is <3.0mg/kg there is the risk of Co deficiency in livestock.

ER Mn (Easily reducible Mn) the 2nd test that was developed and is currently tested for by Johnstown Castle is the ER Mn. This test is a great indicator / predicator of a Mn deficiency in tillage crops. The ER Mn measured in the soil is strongly related to the Mn in the plant tissue therefore a good predicator of Mn sufficiency / deficiency. Where the ER Mn is <80 mg/l there is a high risk of a Mn deficiency during the growing season.

Q. Can Cu improve the efficiency of N uptake by a cereal plant?

Cu is important in plant function (A component of several enzymes, with roles in photosynthesis, respiration, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, lignification and pollen formation) but there are no indications that it improves the uptake of N by the plant.

Q. What yield responses are expected in cereal crops grown on a low soil Cu site?

Research work would show up to a 14 – 15% grain yield response to cereals grown on low Cu status (0.5mg/kg) soils. This response was received by applying 0.5l/ha of Cu oxychloride applied as equal splits at Zadocks GS 22/30 & GS 31/32.

Another trial investigate the effect of a foliar application of Cu, Mn & Zn applied in equal splits as above combined with 3 N rates – 0, 150 & 200kgN/ha to create different yield levels. A significant yield response was obtained at the 150kgN/ha (+10%) but no yield response at the high N rates which produced 9.2 – 9.4 ton/ha. This would indicate that the non – pH dependent mobilization of Cu increases as fertiliser N rate is increased, probably due to greater production of chelating agents in root exudates by high yielding, vigorous cereal crops.(Scottish research 1984/85) 

Do higher yielding crops have a higher Cu requirement / demand?

It would seem logical that higher yielding crops would have a higher requirement for Cu as there would be larger crop off takes in grain & straw. A research trial tested soil applied Cu oxychloride combined with 3 N rates 0, 150 & 200 kgN/ha. A yield response of 22 – 25% was obtained on the 0 N treatments despite a moderate soil Cu status of 1.6 – 2.1 mg/kg. There was no yield response to Cu at the 150 – 200 kg N/ha rates despite the doubling of the plant Cu off take in those treatments which had nil Cu but received fertiliser N. Soil solution measurements at these two sites showed that mobilization of Cu into soil solution in the root zone soil, which occurred through the season in N –fertilized plots gave similar concentrations of Cu to those plots with nil N. This trial concludes that high yielding crops maybe more efficient in obtaining Cu from the soil, given similar levels of extractable soil Cu prior to seed sowing, as far greater mobilization of Cu occurs under a high yielding crop. Thus reducing N input may lead to an increase in Cu deficiency in cereal crops. On soils with low soil Cu status apply appropriate Cu soil / foliar product. In addition the above would indicate that a well developed root system is a key factor to ensuring sufficient Cu uptake by the plant. 

Q. Why will high soil pH reduce Mn availability in the soil & consequently result in crops deficient in Mn?

High soil pH will result in depressed Mn levels in the soil as Mn becomes absorbed on to soil surfaces and not plant available.

Q. Will high levels of soil P reduce the availability of Mn for plant uptake?

High soil P status will result high levels of P in plant tissue and lower levels of Mn in plant tissue. It has been suggested that the high soil P results in elevated P levels in the plant tissue that interferes with the uptake and or translocation of Mn , rather than a direct effect of soil chemistry on Mn availability.

Q. What effect will soil pH have on Mn availability?

As the soil pH increases by 0.1 of a unit above soil pH 7.0 Mn availability in soil water theoretically drops 10 times.

Q. What is the type of trace element source in Epso Combi top?

The formulation of Mn & Zn is in water soluble sulphate form.

Q. How effective is the application of Zn to the soil in meeting crop Zn requirements?

Zn can be broadcasted to the soil and cultivated in (20 kg/ha Zn sulphate). This will have a residual effective for a couple of years. Soil and foliar application in combination tend to be the most effective method to supplying the plant with sufficient Zn rather than soil or foliar application alone. Zn can also be applied to the seed but will require a foliar application to meet crop Zn requirement.

Q. What is the difference between sulphur deficiency and Zn deficiency in cereals?

Sulphur deficiency in cereals is generally identified as a pale yellowing of the youngest growth (Leaf) on the crop. Zinc deficiency shows pale crop growth with severe crop stunting and maybe confused with S deficiency (Zn deficiency will affect both old & new leaf growth, S def only affect new growth). Zn deficiency is generally most noticeable at early stages of growth. Symptoms of Zn deficiency in severe cases may appear as yellow streaks on the younger leaves of barley and wheat. Also on barley white streaks may appear along leaf edges. Often the entire leaf margin maybe bleached. The growing point may die in severe deficiency and plants remain stunted. Wheat will also be stunted due to reduced expansion of the internodes

Q. Where straw is chopped and cultivated in, how available is the trace elements from the straw?

Where straw is chopped and incorporated it will become available for plant uptake over the following growing seasons. For example a 3t/ac of spring barley straw crop will contain in the region of 225gMn, 9g Cu & 55g Cu.

Q. Tillage crops grown in high soil Mo areas, will lime application reduce Cu availability to the cereal plan

No. Apply lime as per soil sample lime recommendation (pH, crop and lime to target soil pH.)

Q. Can Mn & Zn be applied to the seed before sowing?

Yes seed can be treated with either Mn / Zn. In sites that are severely deficient in Mn / Zn, it can be the best approach to ensure the plant will not suffer a deficiency in the early stages of root and shoot development. It is essential on Mn deficient soil types as Mn has a key roll to play in root and tiller development in cereals. In addition P placement can be beneficial on a Mn deficient site as P will stimulate a large root structure therefore meaning more soil exploration resulting in more Mn uptake by the plant. The crop will still require Mn/Zn supplementation but will ensure good establishment in the early stages of the cereal plant.

Q. Are some varieties of barley more susceptible to Mn deficiency than others?

Research work from Denmark would show that winter & spring barley varieties react differently to Mn deficiency. The correct choice of variety can be very important in areas that are very predisposed to Mn deficiency. Winter barley seemed to be more sensitive as indicated from Danish work. The Mn programme adopted for winter barley was 2 autumn applications & 1 spring application of Mn sulphate. Winter barley varieties sensitive to Mn deficiency: Antonia, Resolut, Regina, Hanna, Platine, & Vanessa. Varieties that are tolerant to Mn deficiency are Carola, Rafiki, Ludo & Siberia.

Q. Is there any trace elements in ground limestone?

Amounts would be very small.

Q. Will seedbed consolidation reduce the incidence of trace element deficiencies?

Seedbed consolidation during soil cultivations - ploughing & sowing time is a major factor in reducing trace element deficiencies during the crops growing season.

Good seedbed consolidation improves the contact between soil and root, increasing the uptake of Mn, Zn & Cu. Poor seedbed consolidation will provide one of the best early warning signs of Mn deficiency – look out for better (darker green) growth in tractor wheel tracks.

Q. What effect will temperature and soil moisture have on trace element availability?

Soil temperature has a major influence on the availability of soil trace elements, during cold periods when soil temperatures are low crops may suffer a shortage of minor nutrients. As soil temperatures increase availability will increase. Soil moisture also has a major role to play in nutrient availability as nutrients are taken up in soil solution. During dry periods in combination with poorly consolidated seedbeds which will dry out easily resulting trace element shortages. Therefore seedbed consolidation is critical to retain soil moisture and ensure sufficient moisture for plant uptake of trace elements.

Q. Will seedbed preparation influence Mn availability?

Good seedbed preparation will reduce the incidence of trace element deficiencies and increase there availability i.e. soil cultivations under suitable soil conditions.

No Mn Spray

Mn Spray Soft Firm Soft Firm

Grain yield (t/ha) Broadcast N, P& K 3.6 4.9 5.5 5.8 Combined drilled N, P &K 5.0 5.2 5.9 5.9 SAC

From the above a number of factors are identified in reducing the incidence / effect of Mn deficiency in spring barley

Q. Will seed depth have an effect on Mn availability?

Sow seeds no more than 2.5cm as this will encourage a good and stronger root development / system.

  Seed Depth No Mn Spray Mn Spray
4cm 2cm 2cm
Grain yield (t/ha)
Broadcast N, P& K   2.8 3.7 5.1
Combined drilled N, P &K   - 5.8 6.1

Q. Can trace elements be applied as a fertiliser and how effective are they in meeting crop requirements?

Yes trace elements can be added to base fertiliser. This is an effective way to apply trace elements to a cereal crop and will ensure no shortage during the early stages of establishment and will ensure good root development and tiller development. There is little work monitoring change in soil trace element status overtime where fertilisers plus trace elements are applied. On severely deficient sites depending on the type of soil applied trace element and its availability there maybe the need to apply a foliar trace element application to the crop.

Q. What is the best time to apply foliar trace elements to cereals?

The best time to apply foliar trace elements is when the crop is actively growing when air and soil temperatures are good. Apply from GS 13 - 15 up to GS 32. Generally a little and often is good therefore split trace element applications and apply at least 2 – 3 times where a severe trace element deficiency is expected.

Q. Will foliar applied trace elements build the level of trace element in the soil?

No, foliar trace elements are applied to meet the crops requirements during the growing season with little or no soil residual effects.

Q. What are the trace element level in organic manures?

Organic manures are an excellent source of plant / soil trace elements and are the only way to restore or build soil trace element levels in soils.

Concentrations of trace elements calculated gr/ton (wet weight) stored solid manure & slurry (Steineck et al, 1999, Sweden)
  Cattle Pig
  Organic Conventional Conventional
  Solid Slurry Solid Slurry Solid Slurry
Mn 34 15 38 22 63 25
Zn 24 11 32 18 180 55
Cu 4.5 2.0 4.8 2.9 30.4 14.4

Poultry litter can also be a very good source of trace elements.

Q. What is the difference in leaf symptoms between Mn & Cu deficiency?

For Mn deficiency green veins are seen on new leaf growth. Cu deficiency the leaf will show yellow veins.

Q. What is the soil Mn Index?

See table below for the Mn index .

Soil ER-Mn IndecSoil ER- Mn ranges (mg/l)
11 <90.0
2 90.1-120
3 >120

Q. Can trace elements be applied to the soil to correct a nutrient deficiency?

Yes, soil applications of Cu & Zn are very effective at sowing time to reduce the risk of a deficiency. Mn needs to be applied as a seed dressing or a foliar spray.

Cu - apply 2.5 – 5.0kg Cu sulphate (25%) as a soil applied spray and cultivate(work into soil) into the soil as Cu tends to be very immobile in the soil. Where the soil is very deficient double the rate to 5 - 10kg/ha. The treatment will be effective for at least 5 years and probably 10 years. A crop spray is a useful insurance in the first crop after soil treatment with a 0.5l/ha of Cu oxychloride or equivalent foliar spray.

Zn can also be applied to the soil a Zinc sulphate (22%) (water soluble) at 5kg/ha (broadcast to soil). Crop foliar applications of Zn are very effective in reducing a crop deficiency and meeting crops requirements (e.g. – chelates, zinc oxides, EDTA chelates ,inorganic nitrates etc).

Mn application to the soil is not successful as Mn tends to get bound and locked up in the soil. To improve the uptake and availability of soil applied Mn to a cereal crop it is necessary to apply and place Mn with an acidic base fertiliser at sowing time to increase Mn availability to the crop during establishment. The most effective fertiliser regime for Mn is Mn treated seed followed by foliar Mn spraying.

Q. Will fertiliser placement (N, P & K) at sowing time reduce induce T.E. deficiencies?

Yes and no! It will reduce deficiencies due to the fact that there will be a larger root system developed by the plant therefore allowing the plant to explore a larger volume of soil. In addition due to rapid development for example a zinc deficiency can be induced on low Zn soils due to rapid plant development and low soil supply. In conjunction with the above where a site/ soil is deficient in anyone or combination of trace elements the crop will require a suitable trace element programme to reduce a loss of grain yield applied at the correct time with a suitable product.

Q. What is a hidden trace element deficiency?

A hidden trace element deficiency is one in which the plant shows no signs or symptoms in visual plant characteristic. There may not be differences until the plant comes close to harvest for example plant height difference, time of maturity etc for example a winter wheat crop can suffer a 30% yield loss to a Mn deficiency and show no visual crop symptoms or signs detected. For example cereals crops can suffer a 20% yield loss to a deficiency of Cu and show no more than white tipping or secondary tillering can also be an indication of a Cu deficiency. In conclusion it is essential to have a recent soil / plant analysis report to identify the soil trace element status in order to advise a suitable programme to meet crop micro nutrient requirements.

Q. What effect will lime have on soil P levels on acidic soils (pH 5.0 to 6.0)?

A. Liming acidic soils will increase the availability of P for plant uptake.

Q. How do I determine the quantity of lime required to correct soil pH?

A. A recent soil report will show the rate of lime required depending on the soil type, soil pH and crop type.

Q. How long will it take lime to work?

A. The fine ground limestone (35%) will work relatively fast, and the course lime particles will react more slowly and help maintain soil pH for a number of years.

Q. What is the maximum rate of lime in a single application?

A. Apply a maximum of 7.5t/ha (3.0t/ac). Where more lime is recommended apply 50% now and the balance after 2 years.

Q. Can slurry and lime be applied at the same time?

A. Where slurry is applied first, lime can be applied in 10 days. Where lime is applied first, one must wait 3 months before applying slurry.  This is to reduce the risk of N loss from slurry as lime will accelerate the loss of N.

Q. How long should one leave between spreading 10-10-20 or CAN and lime?

A. There is no need to leave a gap with CAN or N P K compounds.

Q. What is the target pH for grassland where my land is in a high molybdenum (Mo) area?

A. Maintain a soil pH 6.2 on these soils.

Q. When is the best time to apply lime to grassland soils?

A. Now is a good time (summer / autumn) of the year as it allows time for the lime to work and reduces issues in early spring with slurry / urea applications.

Q. When is the best time to apply lime to tillage soils?

A. Ideally apply lime to the ploughed / pressed soils and incorporate into the top 7.5 to 10cm of soil.

Q. When is the best time to apply lime to fields target for reseeding?

A. Ideally apply lime as recommended on the soil test report one year in advance of reseeding. Alternatively apply lime at time of reseeding and incorporate (5 to 10cm) into the seedbed before sowing.

Q. How long should one leave between spreading fertiliser N and slurry?

Slurry applied on fertilizer N creates ideal conditions for denitrification, i.e., anaerobic conditions and high carbon compounds. It is recommended to leave 4 to 7 days before or after slurry spreading for application.

Q. How long should one leave between spreading lime and urea?

Lime increases soil pH which increases rate of volatilisation of ammonia. Do not spread urea for 3-6 months after lime application.

Q. How long should one leave between spreading urea/ slurry and lime?

Where urea is spread in advance of lime it will eliminate the risk of N loss through volatilization. It is recommended to leave 10 days between applying urea and lime.

Q. What’s the fertiliser value of 1,000 gallons of cattle slurry?

It is equivalent to a 50kg bag of 6-5-30 (N, P & K)

Q. To maximise the recovery of N in high N manures such as pig slurry / poultry manures when should they be incorporated / ploughed in?

Aim to plough in within 3 to 6 hours after application to maximise N recovery

Q. What is the difference between the total nutrient content and available nutrient for organic manure such a cattle / pig slurry or FYM?

The total N in Cattle Slurry is 3.6kgN/tonne and for example when applied in the springtime it is deemed to be 25% available therefore 0.9kgN/tonne available N.

The total N in Pig Slurry is 4.2kgN/tonne and for example when applied in the springtime it is deemed to be 50% available therefore 2.1kgN/tonne available N.

Q. What is the availability of P and K in organic manures when applied on low fertility soils (Index 1 and 2)?

P is deemed to be 50% available and K 90% available

Q. What is the benefit of applying cattle slurry in the springtime compared to mid-summer?

Highest crop demand in the springtime plus better N recovery 25% ‘v’ 5% when applied by splash plate.

Q. What are the benefits of applying slurry by trailing shoe application over splash plate?

The trialling shoe has many benefits from reduced grass spoilage, application of slurry to higher grass clovers to improved N recovery from liquid slurries.

Q. Why is it important to incorporate animal slurries as soon as possible after application?

Rapid incorporation of high N manures (pig/poultry manures) reduces N losses and improves available N for crop uptake.

Q.  What effect will the trailing shoe application technique for cattle slurry have on the N availability compared to the splash plate method?

Splash plate applied 6 units N per 1,000 gallons

Trailing shoe 10 units N per 1,000 gallons

Q.  Which manure type is most suited to grazing ground?

Pig slurry has a ratio of P: K (1:2/3) which is ideal for grazing ground as it has a good balance of N- P-K (19-7-20).

Q.  Which manure type is most suited to silage ground?

Cattle slurry has the correct P:K ratio (1:6) for silage swards for example N-P-K 6-5-30

Q.  What are the main factors affecting the nutrient content of an organic manure?

Animal type / diet / water dilution / level meal feeding

Q.  What effect has cattle / pig slurry on earth worm numbers?

No effect once applied at recommended rates

Q. How do I determine the quantity of lime required to correct soil pH?

A. A recent soil report will show the rate of lime required depending on the soil type, soil pH and crop type.

Q. How long will it take lime to work?

A. The fine ground limestone (35%) will work relatively fast, and the course lime particles will react more slowly and help maintain soil pH for a number of years.

Green Cover

Q. What cereal crops grown under contract can be treated with a non-selective herbicide with no requirements to re –establish green cover?

A. Any crops for human consumption for example seed / malting crops that cannot be pre-harvested with a non-selective herbicide.

Q. Is it 25% of the contracted area of the listed crop options?

A. Yes

Q. When can one start a non-selective herbicide be applied from in relation to malting / seed crops?

A. In 2014 once the crop has been harvested a non-selective herbicide can be applied without the requirement to re-establish a green cover.( The starting date in 2015 will be 15th October as per amended legislation)

Q. Where I am growing a contracted tonnage of 200 tonnes malting barley, what area can be treated with a non –selective herbicide?

A. Use the reference cereal yields (as per nitrates directive) for example spring barley reference yield is 6.5t/ha (as in table 16 as per S1 31 2014). Therefore, for 200t contract the area is 30.77ha and 7.69 ha (25%) can be treated for grass weed control.

Q. In the case of roasting barley which tends to be bought on spec when the market requires it. In this example what is required as proof, a sales docket or contract/end use?

A. A roasting contract is required

Q. Can you spray all your headlands of every plot you have if that adds up to 25% of the contracted area irrespective of the plots that were used to grow the contracted crop or is it specific to whole plots and the ones that were associated with the production in that season?

A. Yes 25% of the total contracted area can be treated with a non-selective herbicide as either whole plots or part of plots.

2 meter buffer strip & watercourses

Q. Where a watercourse has a permanent farm roadway located between it and the crop/field can this 3-4 meter road provide the required buffer?

A. The buffer strip is provided by the roadway

Q. Can a hedge form part of the 2 metre buffer strip a long side an identified water course?

A. Yes it can, the buffer starts from the top of the bank

Q. Where do you start to count the start of the buffer strip in relation to a water course?

A. The buffer starts from the top of the bank of the river / stream.

Soiled Water / Slurry Storage

Q.What soiled water storage capacity is required by livestock marts?

A. Marts need ten days storage at a minimum and may need more depending on the part of the country they’re in, local soil conditions etc. Any tank put in place from 1st Jan next needs a minimum of fifteen days storage

Q. Where livestock are fed outside on a concrete yards, how is the water from these areas classed as or do they require slurry storage?

A. Concrete yards where livestock are fed is classed as slurry (free access from shed with for example round feeder in adjoining yard).

Q. Are clean concrete yards that are soiled by machinery/animals cross infrequently thus creating grey/soiled water areas? (Hard standing areas are collecting and return yards from dairy premises? / Holding areas for livestock seem to be similar but also include areas like cattle crushes etc.)

A. Collecting and return yards for dairy parlours are classed as normally producing soiled water. Infrequently used areas that are normally clean but become lightly contaminated normally meet the parameters of soiled water