Utilise our forage services to boost your homegrown forage

As the leading national feed manufacturer we offer all our customers an unrivalled forage and grassland agronomy product support service and advice that delivers:

Soil conditions tractor 720
  • A national service, backed by experienced BASIS and FACTS qualified advisors.
  • Crop specific advice tailored to your farming practice, driven by crop need and supported by a crop walking service.

Slurry and manure nutrients

Slurries, manures but increasingly composts and digestates are now regularly applied to many livestock and arable soils throughout the UK. Farm manures in particular are of variable and sometimes unknown quality, dry matter or analysis. Book values (RB209) are a useful guide, but are often very different to actual analysis. Utilising a slurry test will help determine the nutrients and levels required from artificial fertilisers.

Nutrient Management Plan (NMP)

ForFarmers FACTS qualified advisors can prepare a NMP with all the relevant information required to make informed decisions before applying any fertiliser. An NMP aims to maximise production and ultimately profit from nutrient inputs whilst avoiding or minimising adverse effects on the environment.

An NMP will:

  • Ensure that nutrient management meets all legal requirements.
  • Include a nutrient budget which compares nutrient inputs (both on farm and bought in) with all nutrient outputs.
  • Achieve changes in nutrient levels and production (e.g increasing soil fertility to support a higher stocking rate or altering soil nutrient status to suit future crops).
  • Minimise the cost of supplying nutrients and avoids wasted spending on unnecessary or unused nutrients.
  • Minimise the risk of damage to the environment.

The value of soil

The condition of the soil affects the yield and quality of the crop grown in it, therefore influencing the livestock performance and business profitability. Good soil management starts with a soil assessment followed by good management to maintain structure, balanced chemistry and healthy biology.

  • The quality of home grown forage can be affected by many factors but the nutrient content of the soil can have a major impact on yield but also considerably on quality.
  • A soil assessment prior to sowing any crop means that corrections can be put in place to grow the best crop possible.
  • If soil pH is incorrect then a number of nutrients may be ‘locked up’ and not available to the crop.
  • If the correct nutrients are not available in the correct quantity for growing the crop from sowing to harvest both yield and quality will be compromised.

The importance of soil testing

pH: Correct pH for optimum plant growthand uptake of nutrients.
Nitrogen: If soil pH is under optimum, Nitrogen uptake can be reduced by up to 50%.
Low Phosphorus = Poor root development and poor use of nutrients. A low pH will reduce phosphate uptake by up to 75%.
Low Potassium = Poor transport and utilsation of nutrients and poor growth. Grasses low in available K are less tolerant of drought and less frost resistant. A low pH will result in applied potassium uptake being reduced by up to 50%.

ForFarmers can offer a full soil analysis service, from a basic soil sample indicating pH, P, K and Mg to a full broad spectrum measuring all the most important micro nutrients, soil texture and organic matter in your soil.

Soil health and soil carbon

The impact of agriculture and the sustainability of modern farming practices, soil health and the ability of those soils to store carbon come under ever greater scrutiny. Soil carbon and soil organic matter are very good indicators of soil health and improving these parameters will improve microbial activity, enhance nutrient supply and water retention, soil structure and therefore improve yields and nutrient use efficiency.

We are able to offer a comprehensive Carbon analytical suite to measure and monitor improvements of these and many other soil health parameters, particularly useful when benchmarking or measuring improvements following management practice changes.

Fresh grass analysis and SilageManager

Fresh grass analysis is useful to measure the amount of residual nitrogen in the plant which may cause a potential problem with the silage fermentation. It also provides information on the amount of sugar which can be used by bacteria to produce lactic acid during the fermentation. If the sugar content is too low or the buffering from nitrogen too high, then there may be a problem achieving an effective fermentation.

Dry matter is also a consideration as low dry matter, wetter material needs to produce more acid and reach a lower pH before it becomes stable in the clamp. Dryer material may pose a greater risk to yeast, mould and aerobic stability challenge, so this information can be used to help to help make a decision with the timing of cutting and management of the crop.

SilageManager is ForFarmers forage analysis service. Detailed analysis reports are available for all main forage crops in the following areas:

Silage (forage) quality is one of the most important factors to consider when making nutritional decisions and formulating dairy rations. The more we know about silage quality the better the nutritional solution.

Traditional measurements of forage quality focus on quantitative values like crude protein, starch, sugar, NDF etc. These provide useful information but don’t give a true indication how the forage will breakdown in the rumen and influence cow performance.

Feed2Milk nutrients in SilageManager + provide additional information on qualitative measures resulting in more accurate assessment of forage quality and the impact on the cow as well as improved efficiency of forage utilisation – increased milk from forage.