One of the major factors influencing grass growth is soil temperature. July is often the month with the lowest soil temperatures - and usually too low for a N response. Earlier this week at Massey No 4 dairy farm in the Manawatu the soil temperature was 6.5C - 2.5C lower than a month ago. This would be considered “a bit higher than average” for July. But last year on the same day it was actually 10.6C! So how meaningful for a decision like when to put on N, is what you consider the long-term average? You can’t rely and plan on factors such as soil temperature being the same each year.
The roller coaster ride that is the daily weather in New Zealand makes farming challenging at the best of times. Increasing temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns and more extreme weather events in the coming years from global climate change will bring further weather variability. Being able to measure and monitor factors such as soil temperature and moisture on a daily basis on your farm to better manage your feed budget will become increasingly important.
ReGen N has been developed to put you in control of when you make you N fertiliser decisions and supports you in choosing the most effective time to get the best pasture response you can. The app uses daily soil conditions (soil temperature and moisture) from your farm to calculate the expected pasture response to the type of N fertiliser and the application rate you are planning to use. You can also see at a glance where your soil temperature and moisture are relative to the optimum zone (when pasture growth is not limited). ReGen N can’t stop you being on the roller coaster but it can make the ride a little more comfortable.