Farmers urged to spread nitrogen

Teagasc is urging dairy farmers to apply adequate fertiliser nitrogen to stimulate the grass sward to grow, despite the present abundance of grass. 

A review of Teagasc research has indicated that every 1kg of fertiliser nitrogen applied results in 10kg dry matter of grass growth.

Teagasc advice is that as soon as the closed period is passed and ground conditions allow, all dairy farmers should spread their first round of nitrogen.

“This is clearly worthwhile with a potential cost: benefit ratio of 1:4 if the additional grass grown replaces an alternative purchased feed,” said Michael O’Donovan Teagasc grassland researcher.

“You cannot buy a better feed than spring grass. Dairy farmers have a fantastic opportunity this year to include large amounts of grass in their cows’ diet as grass covers are well ahead of target,” he said.

Dr O’Donovan delivered this advice at the announcement by Teagasc of a series of 21 spring grazing dairy farm walks.

These walks will focus on the practicalities of managing spring grazing.

Teagasc stated that the key targets when using the spring rotation planner are to graze 30% of the farm by March 1, a further 30% by mid-March and complete the first rotation by the first week of April.

“Teagasc research has shown early grazing increases grass growth, grass quality and utilisation for the entire year.

“So it really is a case that ‘a good start is half the battle’,” said Teagasc dairy specialist, John Maher. Starting next January 25, all events start at 11am. Details of dates and venues: Teagacs.ie/events.

The events are supported by Dairy Research Ireland.


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