With winter feed short nitrogen can be used strategically to grow more feed.
Nitrogen (N) can reduce the need for hand feeding by rapidly increasing the amount of green feed. Hand-feeding is costly and time-consuming so the aim is to feed as many of your livestock as possible from pasture. Applying N to pastures also provides critical feed for pregnant and lactating animals while allowing deferral of grazing on other parts of the farm.
N applied to grass dominant pastures will give you the best results. Pastures will respond where soil N is low, and there are no other constraints to pasture growth such as waterlogging or other nutrient deficiencies like phosphorus, potassium and sulphur.
It is essential when applying N to pastures that the additional growth is utilised.
Research has shown that an extra 10-15kg/ha DM/ha can be produced over the winter for every kg N/ha applied. On current N prices, this means that an extra tonne of feed can be produced for only $75 to $100/t.
To grow more feed:
- Identify your grassy paddocks.
- Apply either 100kg/ha urea or 100 litres /ha Flexi-N just prior to rain.
- Defer grazing for at least 10-12 days if possible; this allows pasture to respond and reduces any possibility of N toxicity (a greater risk where capeweed is abundant). As the price of bought in feed goes up, it only makes more sense to try and grow more of it on farm.
To find out more about applying N to pastures speak to your local Area Manager.