To Fertilise or not Fertilise that is the Question?

With the rising prices of nitrogen, phosphate and potash fertilisers the inevitable questions are be being asked as to whether phosphate and potash fertiliser should be purchased for the rest of this year and in to next year? Taking a “fertiliser holiday” can appear like an easy saving on costs, particularly when prices are rising, but is it?

With the changing weather patterns we are seeing in the UK with blocks of either wet or dry weather being more frequent, crops including grass, are coming under increasing pressure due to the prolonged nature of these weather blocks.  This is putting the plants under stress.

Potash is one of the key nutrients for helping plants cope with stress.  It is used by the plant to move water around to different cells.  During drought, a deficit of potassium around the roots will lead to a reduced uptake.  This in turn leads to less water in the plant which looses rigidity and wilts.  Lack of water in the cells also leads to the stomata closing which reduces flow of carbon dioxide into the plant and thus reduces the rate of photosynthesis.  This will lead to reduced yields.

With this in mind careful consideration should be given to taking “fertiliser holiday’s” as you may end up losing more than you gain.  If soils are above the target index of 2, then a holiday can be taken.  At target index a maintenance dressing is still required to replace nutrients taken away in the form of harvested crop.  Soils at below target will be at even greater risk of reduced yields and crop failure, so a plan should be in place to restore the index as quickly as is practical.

To ensure you make the most efficient use of expensive fertiliser in the coming year plan ahead by contacting Phil Cooper (FACTS) on 07798 673665 or e-mail