SOIL & FERTILISER
There’s always a lot of talk in advisory circles about strategic use of nitrogen fertiliser. This is all about getting a good response from its application, which requires the 10cm soil temperature to be above 6°C and that the soil is not waterlogged. Keep the spreader well clear of creeks and wet parts of the paddock, and apply a number of small dressings rather than one large dollop.
Good growing conditions will give a 10:1 response or better, which is 10kg of pasture DM for every 1kg of N in the fertiliser applied. This could happen in a couple of weeks or less, but if it’s cold and miserable it may take three weeks or more, and the response could be lower, and/or the N could be leached before the plant roots take it up.
There’s no point in seeing highly nutritious saved spring feed, grown at great expense, being pushed down into the soil by cattle. If it’s going to be a really wet night, get any large cattle off the paddock on to a hard dry area like a feed pad. These are now becoming essential and can be made from bark, which makes good compost the following season. Standing cattle off pasture in a race for long periods is not acceptable on welfare grounds.
Using a back fence and mobile trough when grazing is also good practice when pastures are dry as it aids more rapid recovery of the pasture.
There are now so many issues with serious legal consequences to be aware of when grazing the roadside that it should be avoided even if you have public liability insurance. Find other ways to feed your stock.