Cropping

Avoid delays with fertiliser

By Country News

Graziers are being urged to think about their pasture fertiliser requirements now to avoid potential delays later in the season.

After a slow start to the traditional fertiliser despatch period, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers agronomist Lee Menhenett said pasture fertilisers were already being spread in some regions, while graziers in drought-affected areas including northern Victoria were choosing to wait until the autumn rains arrived.

He said this could mean very busy times ahead for fertiliser transport and spreading companies, who would not easily be able to meet the peaks in demand.

‘‘Every year, autumn is a busy and competitive time, because there’s only so many trucks and spreaders to go around — and we’re expecting it will be even more so this year,’’ he said.

Mr Menhenett said for best results in pastures, the right fertiliser should be applied at the right rate before the autumn break.

‘‘If you are planning to spread phosphorus this autumn, there may be advantages to making a move now and avoiding the potential delays later,’’ he said.

He reassured farmers that there were no agronomic disadvantages to applying phosphorus fertilisers to pastures early.

His only caution was in situations where soils were bare or in hilly country at risk of erosion. In these situations, Mr Menhenett advised graziers to wait until the ground cover was greater than 70 per cent.

‘‘Having phosphorus on the ground early ensures it is available to the germinating sub-clover straight after the opening rains for optimum autumn clover growth which has flow-on effects for winter pasture production levels,’’ he said.