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FORAGE AND NUTRITION Guide 2017
FORA
GE AND NUTRITION
Guide 20
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7
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global nutrient supply to grass and crops. The products are not
a substitute for focusing on the basic fundamental principles
of soil pH, soil index levels and slurry management. However,
in many cases, specific issues arise on farms where standard
fertiliser and lime programmes may not be su cient to deliver
the best result possible. An enhanced fertiliser option may
work well in this case. Grassland Agro's team of dedicated
agronomy advisors are available to see how the overall
fertilisation programme of the farm might be managed for
maximum productivity and return.
Enhanced fertilisers - what do they do?
The Grassland Agro range of speciality fertiliser products
are based on three principals technologies, namely soil
conditioners, phased released nitrogen, and protected
phosphorus. Advantages of each technology are summarised
in the figure shown below. The technologies are dedicated
to increasing the soil's capability of releasing nutrients while
also protecting and increasing the e ciencies of the nutrients
applied in di erent fertiliser products.
Research and development (R&D) programme
In 2015, Grassland Agro committed to a comprehensive
programme of evaluation and assessment across the portfolio
of products under Irish soil, climatic and farming system
conditions. To date, the programme has been in operation for
a period of two years and is delivering results that are showing
the e ectiveness of using enhanced fertilisers in intensive
farming systems.
The programme looked at the evaluation of the three pillars
of technologies o ered by Grassland Agro in a wide range of
formulations. The technologies focused on improving N use
e ciency with the aim of delivering additional yield and quality
in both grazing and silage situations. The use of the N process
technologies incorporated into an intensive fertiliser regime
has delivered impressive results by increasing yields by up 0.7
tonnes dry matter (DM) per hectare (ha) of grazed grass over
the grazing season worth an additional 126/ha, while also
delivering an increase in grass quality through the protection of
N and the improvement in plant activity to build level of crude
protein (CP) in the grass by an additional 26 grams of CP/kg/
DM. The improvements in both yield and quality of grazed
grass delivered by the N process technology will allow farmers
to grow more quality grass while maintaining their commitment
to sustainable farming.
Also as part of Grassland Agro's commitment to research and
evaluation of fertiliser technologies, a programme of evaluation
was designed to assess protected phosphorus and soil
conditioner technologies. The aims of these technologies are
to protect valuable inputs such as P applied to soil from soil
lock-up while the soil conditioner technology is designed to
improve soil and plant activity resulting in the mobilisation of
soil reserve of nutrients, increasing subsequent plant yield and
nutrient uptake by the plant. Over the course of the two year
R&D programme the addition of protected P to soils in place
of conventional P has resulted in increases of grazed grass
yield up to 1.9 tonnes/DM/ha. Finally, the evaluation of the soil
conditioner technology has resulted in substantial increases in
yields of grazed grass up to 1.6 tonnes/DM/ha, worth additional
288, while increasing the nutritive value of the grazed grass
in terms of CP, Ca and P content of grass by 24, 17 and 18 per
cent, respectively.
Grassland Agro, through it joint partner company Group
Roullier, is also actively utilising the R&D facilities that are
available in France to investigate other technologies that
may prove to be useful to complement its existing range of
enhanced fertilisers. Grassland Agro has full access to the
continuous R&D work of Groupe Roullier's dedicated 350
professional engineers and researchers. In addition to this, the
company also collaborates with many universities (including
Irish) and independent agricultural research institutions
including Teagasc.
For more information about the range of products o ered by
Grassland Agro, or the results on the technologies o ered
by Grassland Agro, please contact Dr PJ O'Connor, product
manager, on 00353 86 3237894 or email pjoconnor@
grassland.ie.
Figure 1: Complete range of N, P and K fertilisers with
calcium, sulphur, magnesium, and sodium to suit your specific
requirements.