Time to stock fertiliser
FARMERS are being urged to stock up on urea fertiliser in anticipation of a rush to buy when significant rain arrives.
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Matamata team service leader Geoff Barclay said preparation for pushing pasture growth was crucial to recovery plans after drought. He is suggesting farmers buy even if they leave it in the shed because they are not sure when they will need it.
Mr Barclay said he was predicting a rush on urea in half-tonne and one-tonne bags when significant rainfall arrives, which would create a demand bottleneck and a shortage.
Setting up pasture with urea was critical in accelerating dry matter production and preparing farms for next season.
Urea did not induce pasture growth but accelerated it, and with rain falling sporadically, Mr Barclay said the best course of action was to stockpile ready for when the land was primed with enough rainfall.
‘‘The important point is this: Application when you see some growth occurring, not throwing it on willynilly. It would be a prudent move to get half-tonne or full tonne bags now to have the flexibility of when to put it on,’’ he said.
‘‘We won’t run out of urea but we could run out of those half-tonne and tonne bags.’’
But having a supply would not mean much if more rain did not fall soon, Mr Barclay said.
‘‘The rain we had recently was good, it was nice and slow, but to be effective we need 50 to 60 millilitres.’’ Ravensdown chief scientific officer Ants Roberts said that although it was better to wait for some pasture regrowth before putting fertiliser down, in drought conditions it was unlikely. He said it was more practical to apply it as soon as possible after significant rainfall.
‘‘Something will be much better than nothing. There’s enough rain there to moisten the ground.’’
The quick option to start the pasture supply recovery process was to apply nitrogen fertiliser after 15mm to 20mm of rain and hope more rain would follow.
‘‘The size of the response will depend on sufficient initial rain and subsequent following rain to ensure pastures keep growing,’’ he said.