Take The Bull By The Horns!

It is time we started thinking outside the box! 

With rising fertiliser prices should you not be looking at what farm waste streams you produce and the resulting nutrient value?

The nutrient content of cattle slurry will vary with animal type and diet and especially with slurry dilution with water. 

Phosphorus (P) & Potassium (K) - cattle slurry is a rich source of P and K fertiliser and should be applied to parts of the farm that have either low soil P or K levels, or to crops with high P and K demands such as grass silage.

Focusing on the value of what you produce will save you money on artificial sources.  Analysis is crucial, combined with soil testing give you a much clearer picture of what you would need to buy to satisfy the soil and crop you are growing.

The next question is... ‘what is the best technique to grow the crop maybe adding value through growing a supporting crop to provide nutrients?’

I have grown maize in Australia using Strip Tilling and believe the combination with a supporting crop will add value to the final crop’s nutrient requirement and save money on inputs.  Articles in the farming press are talking about these techniques already, which is positive.

Nutrient Management Planning will save you money long term as well as adding Carbon to your soil.

A typical dairy farm with 150 cows could produce: -

  • 1,350 cubic meters of slurry at 6% dry matter
  • Producing 3,510 kilogrammes (kg) of Nitrogen – 50% available to the plant immediately through mechanical separation = 1,755kg, No separation – 40% = 1,400kg
  • 1,620kg of phosphorous – 50% available = 810kg
  • 4,320kg of potash – 90% available = 3,888kg

This has a financial value of £8,500 pa.  If fertiliser costs have doubled so has the value of your farm wastes!  If your crop and soil does not need all those valuable nutrients, then make sure that you are not buying in expensive artificial replacers before considering to export off the farm.

To discuss how to maximise the value of muck and slurry on your farm, contact Mark on 07984 785190 or e-mail markyearsley@fcgagric.com