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Grassland - Beef


Nitrogen (N) fertilizer advice for grazing

Rates and timing of N fertilizer applications for swards grazed by suckler calf to weaning at various stocking rates. Rates of fertilizer N are shown as kg/ha (units/acre in brackets)

See link to Early N Advice Guidelines for efficient use & response. Grasslandhttps://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/environment/soil/Early-Nitrogen-Advice---Grassland.pdf

Nitrogen (N) requirements for pasture

  • There is no reliable soil test currently available for N. Therefore, there is no soil Index system for N in grassland.
  • Recommendations are based on average soil fertility levels.
  • Total N application and on the farm and time of application must be compliant with nitrates regulations.
  • Matching nitrogen fertilizer use to stocking density on the farm at different times of the year avoids excessive use.
  • Applying nitrogen fertilizer ‘little and often’ during the growing season gives most efficient response in terms of grass growth.

Phosphorus (P) for cattle grazed swards**

Table 2:- Simplified P requirements (kg/ha) of grazed swards on dairy farms. (Rates shown are total P requirements, before deductions for concentrate feeds or organic fertilisers).

  • Rates shown must be deducted to account for P fed to livestock in concentrate feeds.
  • To account for P in concentrate feeds, use either actual P content in the feeds used if available, or alternatively, use a default value of 5 kg of P per tonne of concentrate feed.

Potassium (K) for cattle grazed swards**

Table 3:- Simplified K requirements (kg/ha) of grazed swards on dairy farms. (Rates shown are total K requirements, before deductions for organic fertilisers).

*The P and K rates shown can be supplied by either slurry or fertilizer

Fertiliser Values for Cattle Slurry

*The P and K rates shown can be supplied by either slurry or fertiliser


  • Sulphur (S) is an important nutrient for grassland, and is closely associated with N uptake and efficiency.
  • There is currently no soil test or soil Index system for S.
  • Herbage analysis is the best predictor of S deficiency.
  • Lighter soils with low organic matter contents are generally more prone to S deficiency.

S fertilizer advice

  • The response to S fertiliser increases as the rate of N fertiliser increases.
  • On S deficient soils, apply 20 kg/ha per year for grazed swards.
  • For silage swards on S deficient soils, apply 20 kg/ha of S per cut.
  • Avoid S application to soils not deficient in S, as excess S may affect the trace element nutrition of plants and animals.
  • S can be applied by using any of a number of straight or compound fertilizers that contain S.

Fertiliser Requirements at P & K Indexes 1 to 4 & Suggested N, P & K Programmes

Fertiliser programme showing splits & fertiliser products & N, P & K timings