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Ask for your Nutrient Management Plan


NMP online produces a fertiliser plan for your farm including a liming plan, where to apply your slurry/FYM and what fields to target with specific fertiliser based on soil test results. Teagasc environment specialists Padraig Foley and Tim Hyde give more information.

Your accountant will talk money, pounds shillings and pence. They will talk tax, advise you where to spend, where not to spend and how to spread any investment. Do you care what software package your accountant uses to help give this advice? You just hope that they use the best.

Working with your advisor on a Nutrient Management Plan for your farm is similar. You shouldn’t care what software package is being used by your advisor, as long as it is the best. Your Teagasc advisor will use NMP Online and together they will give you the best advice.

NMP online produces a fertiliser plan for your farm including a liming plan, where to apply your slurry/FYM and what fields to target with specific fertiliser based on soil test results.

Pay attention to the recommendations of your advisor and NMP online

This year of all years as fertiliser price is volatile and rising; we need to use the people and the tools at hand. We will pay heed to what our accountant advises. We should also pay attention to what our advisor and NMP online recommends. Good soil fertility, is money in the bank. With rising prices we have to look at fertiliser purchases as an investment.

The soil beneath our feet

We don’t make any investment without knowing what it will deliver. To make that decision we need to know our starting point. We start with soil beneath our feet.

Step one: taking our soil sample – A soil sample can be taken on a 4ha field and will last four years. This equates to a cost of approximately €1.23/ha or 50c/ac. Compare this to the cost of a bag of urea at €50, if urea is costing €1,000/t.

Step two: is getting these soil samples into NMP Online with the help of our advisor.

Step three: is the key – looking at the NMP Online to get the best return on investment from slurry and bag fertiliser.

Making best use of slurry

Some of us will have fields that need very little investment. More of us will have fields that with the help of soil sample results, we now know exactly what to invest in and where. We know that using slurry again this year in the fields closest to the yard isn’t going to be the best use of this valuable organic fertiliser. But where is the best use of our slurry? Slurry used in the lower index P & K fields is estimated to be worth €53/1,000 gallons based on current fertiliser prices.

Working with NMP Online and your advisor will tell you this and more. Your soil samples combined with your crop demand will deliver advice that allows you to target the fields that need investment. Like any investment, you need a plan. Your nutrient management plan will set out your soil fertility plan.

Lime

Starting with lime it will tell you how much and where. This plan will spread lime across 4 years and allow you to spread the cost of the investment. Lime on a lower stocked farm will have a 4:1 return on investment. This is higher on more intensive farms.

Figure one is an example of a K map which you could also have for your farm. Without even looking at K values, you can see that the fields closest to the farmyard on the left, have received more slurry than the fields that are further from the yard. Convenience can save time, but it will cost in terms of output in the long run.

Figure 1

Demand is an element of the equation that shouldn’t be overlooked. You only need to grow the grass that your business consumes. A pH of 6.3 and index 3 for P & K is only needed for intensively managed farms. Your accountant wouldn’t have you invest where you don’t need to, neither will your advisor.

 

Take soil samples - Cost just €0.50 cent per acre

Ask your advisor for NMP Online Maps - This advice will focus the mind

Look at your NMP Online Maps, before spreading slurry or FYM - €53/1,000 gallons is the value of slurry spread on lower index fields. That’s just about the price of one bag of urea.

Conversation with your advisor:

  • Should I have my agitated slurry analysed?
  • Can you give me a lime requirements map?
  • Can you give me a colour coded map outlining the P & K indices on my farm?
  • Can you prepare a fertiliser plan for me?