5 Sep 2014

What we did to get here won't be what we need to do to get there...

‘There’ being profitable, sustainable dairy farming.

Nitrogen is a wonderful growth multiplier but it can’t work if the grass is not growing. Understanding the factors that limit a good N response mean you have more control on nitrogen use, allowing you to delay or reschedule an application to a more suitable time. By taking these factors into account you will not only get more grass for every $ spent on N fert, but you will also avoid wastage and reduce your impact on the environment.

Spring doesn’t necessarily start on 1 September, and when it does start it isn’t  the same everywhere. There are a variety of soil conditions around the country at the moment: some soils are extremely wet, others are getting dry, some are warming up and are now over 10°C, others are still hovering around 5-6°C. Regen Nitrogen provides you with farm specific soil conditions every day to enable you to make the best decisions you can on when to apply nitrogen fertiliser.

There are two fundamental drivers for grass growth, soil temperature and moisture. Adequate plant nutrients is also important and nitrogen is an essential one.

Dairy NZ and the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand have distilled the findings from all of the research into best practice guidelines (that we used to call 'rules of thumb') that are useful to keep in mind when assessing when to apply nitrogen this season.

ReGen Nitrogen means you can put these guidelines into practice. KNOW your soil temperature, KNOW your soil moisture, KNOW what response rate you are likely to get - THEN decide if applying N is the right thing to do.

Rough ‘Rules of Thumb’, ‘guesstimates’ - these are the tools that got us here. 

Information to apply best practice - these are the tools to get us there.

In New Zealand we’ve been fortunate that our mixed ryegrass/clover pastures have their own nitrogen makers, nitrogen fixing bacteria in the roots of the clover working hard to fix nitrogen from the air into forms available for grass growth. However these bacteria don’t work that fast when conditions are cold or really wet or dry and aren’t able to fix enough nitrogen to keep up with the extra grass growth required to fill feed deficits in early spring.

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