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Tillage update February 24th

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has increased all commodities prices. There is a huge jump in grain prices and it wont be long before fertiliser prices follow suit as energy prices are predicted to increase significantly. Tillage specialist Michael Hennessy gives some advice

Where does the increase in grain and fertiliser prices leave tillage farmers?  The swings and roundabouts of increasing prices and costs which should balance out but the most immediately task still involves planning so that crops which are in the ground or going into the ground will have access to sufficient fertilisers.

The word from industry is that most tillage farmers (with tillage crops) have some fertiliser on farm, probably enough for the first round applications.  The priority for all farmers now is to ensure there is enough cash flow to pay for all of the inputs for the seasopn.  Although many agri supply companies may have a mechanism of support purchases or have some harvest credit available, this may not be enough. 

Crops webinar - Utilisation of Nutrients

The crops webinar in January 20th covers some of this ground in terms of proper planning and estimating the total costs of fertilisers for 2022.  Don Somers, a farmer from Wexford, provides an excellent analysis and model of how he is planning his fertiliser requirements for the year.  Critically Don was able to cost out and compare different forms of fertiliser, specifically identifying savings in using protected urea versus CAN.  See Don in the video here 

Nutrient Management Plan

Precision of fertiliser applications is critical so that every kilogram of fertiliser is utilised and none is wasted.  There are many ways this can be achieved.  The first step needs is to develop of an Nutrient Management Plan so that you know how much N,P &K is needed on each field/crop. The following gives you an idea what a good NMP can offer Your local advisor can help you prepare this plan. 

Maintenance of fertiliser spreaders

The maintenance of fertiliser spreaders in terms of checking that the machine delivers the correct spread pattern and the machine can be adjusted to reduce/eliminate fertilisers application to the margins. The video here gives tips on the best areas to target on your fertiliser spreader.

Tillage Edge Podcast 

Farmers can step up the accuracy of fertiliser application by increasing the machine technology with GPS precision.  These systems can be deployed on any tractor but requires specific technology on fertiliser machines.   For more details on the basics of GPS systems listen to the latest addition of the Tillage Edge podcast here

Find out more information and advice from the Teagasc Crops team here.   The Teagasc Crops Specialists issue an article on a topic of interest to tillage farmers every Thursday on Teagasc DailyFind your local Teagasc office here