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Climate Actions for May

Use protected urea

The only way to compare the price of protected urea and CAN is to compare the price of a kg of N.  Why? Because protected urea has 46% nitrogen and CAN has just 27% nitrogen.  Therefore, every tonne of protected urea goes a lot further when spreading it.

Will protected urea give the same performance as CAN fertiliser applied in dry conditions?

Yes, the Irish trial results show no significant yield or N recovery difference between CAN and urea protected with NBPT (urease inhibitor).



Price per tonne

Nitrogen content

Cost per kg N


Protected urea




Protected urea is 30% cheaper than CAN in this example





Target a late May cut for silage yield and quality

  • High yield for 1st cut silage reduces cost per tonne in the pit
  • However silage quality (DMD) falls rapidly after grass heading date (0.5 units per day)
  • For high DMD mow as seed heads begin to emerge, for standard DMD mow S-6 days later
  • Good soil fertility= target yield 5 t DM reached by May 26th= good quality silage (72 DMD)
  • Poor soil fertility = target yield 5 t DM reached by June 16th= poor quality silage (62 DMD)
  • Swards on high fertility soils have earlier recovery and 3 weeks more growth for second cut

To help reduce age at slaughter, graze cattle at 8-10cm.

Too often on livestock farms there is excessive grass offered to the grazing herd. High grass utilisation is possible when pre-grazing yields are at levels that the grazing animals can graze out well. The key focus during the main grazing season is to offer high-quality/ leafy material to the grazing herds as often as possible through the season. Grazing animals respond positively to high-quality grass and it is far easier for them to graze swards of 1,300-1,600 kg DM/ha (8-10cm) than swards of 2,000-2,200kg DM/ha (12+cm).

Getting it right during the main grazing season

Only set clover on high P & K index soils and with a pH of 6.3+

Soil Fertility is Critical to Clover:

  • Soil pH > 6.3
  • Soil Phosphorous (P) Index 3+
  • Soil Potassium (K)Index 3+

Adding Sulphur to Cereal Crops

Cereals can show a response to applied sulphur where the soil is unable to meet the crops requirements. Responses to sulphur are most likely on sandy, free draining soils where sulphur release from the soil can be low and sulphur can be leached from the soil. Responses are less likely on heavier textured soils. Soils with low organic matter levels will also be more prone to sulphur deficiency. Teagasc Oak Park trials on winter barley on light textured soils have shown a good response to applications of 15 – 20kg/ha. Apply sulphur with nitrogen fertiliser.