If nothing else, the British weather, in the western half of the country at least, is supposed to be good for growing grass but that’s been far from the case this season.
GrowHow’s Grassland Specialist Elaine Jewkes says there could still be some decent grass to salvage from what’s been a very difficult season.
A few lucky people on lighter land managed to get on for second cut silage at the right time but, for many, delays to cutting mean that second cut silage is pretty poor, tending to be bulky and of low quality.
However, as GrowHow’s Grassland Specialist, Elaine Jewkes says: “On a more positive note, where the ground is trafficable, it’s still not too late to salvage something from this dreadful season. It may be possible to get a decent third cut for silage and there’s still the chance to get some quality grazing from the sward where stock can be grazed.”
Despite everything, grass is still a cost effective option compared to purchased feed. For cutting or grazing a modest amount of fertiliser will be helpful. Pale swards and low crude protein values suggest that N may have been lost from wet soils by denitrification, or that N may have been moved out of reach down the soil profile.
“For grazing land a boost of sulphur along with nitrogen will be helpful, using a product such as SingleTop (27.0.012) at around 30-40 kg N/ha (24-32 units), or, if some K is required after cutting, an NKS product such as NK Sulphur or Kaynitro Sulphur at similar N rates,” she suggests. “For cutting, around 60 kg N/ha (48 units) will be needed, plus P and K as appropriate and not forgetting S, of course. Depending on the soil P and K indices, and whether slurry has been used, products to consider could be KayNitro Sulphur where no P is needed, or MultiCut Sulphur where all nutrients are required.”
“More generally, this season is likely to have resulted in some degree of damage to the soil and this will have impacts in seasons to come. It will pay dividends to pre-empt problems such as compaction so that remedial action can be taken when soil conditions allow. A spade is a cheap but essential diagnostic tool – so when the soil is not waterlogged, dig a hole and take a look, with a view sub-soiling or slitting - when drier conditions return.”
Failing Maize Crops Abandoned in Favour of Grass
Agrii Northern Ireland Crop Trials Probe Value of New Chemistry
Extra Sulphur Unlocks OSR Potential