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The importance of phosphate

Advice from our specialist Advice from our specialist5-12-2019

Correct soil nutrition will not only vastly increase grassland yield but also influence the quality of the forage, ultimately being key to profitability. That’s the message from ForFarmers’ forage product manager Mel Digger. 

“Getting grass off to an early start in the spring is vital for grass-based systems. It allows for earlier grazing, as well as reducing reliance on housing and silages” she says.

So what are the limiting factors? 

ForFarmers Article - The importance of phosphate

“Phosphate is essential for kick starting root and shoot development in the spring. But due to the cold temperatures, often less than 1% of the soil’s total phosphate is in a plant-available form. 

Applying a small amount of water-soluble phosphate can make a huge difference to the swards potential for the rest of the year,” she adds.

Trials have shown that a 20kg/ha application of phosphate in the spring can increase dry matter yield by 1.02t/ha.

“This application is best made alongside the nitrogen application, as the two will have a symbiotic relationship in encouraging early spring growth. “And the demand for phosphate in the spring will rise with soil temperature and peak during April and May, so ensure that any phosphate has been applied by then to match demand.”

As with all nutrient inputs, it is essential to measure soil levels to be better able to manage it. ForFarmers recommends carrying out soil analysis to give a detailed understanding of the soil’s requirements. 

For more information

For more details please contact your local account manager or call our forage team on: 0330 678 1200