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Blue Bags Grow Better Crops

NEW TRIALS HIGHLIGHT BENEFITS OF SPRING NPKS FERTILISER APPROACH

Applying a crop’s full P and K requirement as part of an NPKS compound granular fertiliser in the spring rather than on its own in the autumn can increase wheat yields by 1.0t/ha, new trials from CF Fertilisers suggest.

 

Even at 2016 grain prices and taking into account fertiliser costs, yield improvements worth more than £100/ha have resulted from the approach, says the company’s arable agronomist Allison Grundy.

 

“The work shows that feeding the crop when it needs the nutrients for rapid growth has significant benefits not just because of increased crop yields but also in terms of time saving, reduced fuel costs and less wear on machinery.”

 

In the trials, carried out at the Royal Agricultural College (RAU) in Cirencester, CF Heartland Sulphur NPKS 24-8-8 (8SO3) was applied during the spring on some plots whilst others received straight P and K in the autumn followed by just N and S in the spring.

 

All the land had indices of P1 and K2 with total applications equalling 200kg/ha N, 81 kg/ha K20, 127kg/ha P205and 68kg/ha SO3 across all plots, she explains.

 

“The plots that received the P and K as an autumn application with N and S applied in the spring produced 8.6t/ha whilst those that had all nutrients applied as Heartland Sulphur NPKS in the spring produced 9.6t/ha.

 

“At £120/tonne for grain, this yield benefit would be worth a very significant £106/ha after accounting for the cost of the fertiliser.”

 

In winter barley, plots receiving separate applications of P and K produced a yield of 7.4t/ha whilst those getting the single spring NPKS application produced 7.7t/ha – a 0.3t/ha improvement.

 

Table. Royal Agricultural University Trials 2016 – Yield Summary

 

Applied

 

Crop

Harvest N kg/ha

Yield

t/ha

Difference

t/ha

Difference

£/ha

Spring

 2016

 

W. Barley

 

217

 

7.7

 

 

 

+ £30

Autumn 2015

 

W. Barley

 

164

 

7.4

 

0.3

 

 

Spring

2016

 

W. Wheat

 

226

 

9.6

 

 

+ £120

Autumn 2015

 

W. Wheat

 

190

 

8.6

 

1.0

 

 

 

Average

 

 

 

 

0.65

 

+ £75

 

 

 “Interestingly, the winter wheat with the Heartland Sulphur approach had a harvest Nitrogen content of 226kg/ha whilst that receiving P and K in the autumn contained 190kg/ha - 36kg N/ha less,” Allison Grundy points out.

 

“In winter barley, this was 217kg/ha and 164kg/ha respectively - 53kg N/ha less. These responses are due to the Potash applied in the Spring improving Nitrogen uptake efficiency.

 

“Overall, both sets of results show how much more efficiently plants were able to utilise Nitrogen to build yield when the P and K were applied with the N and S in a single spring NPKS granular product.”

 Spring Applied NPKS

But there are other advantages, she points out.

 

“There is a workload benefit as the need for autumn spreading is eliminated and this can be of enormous practical assistance at one of the busiest times of the year. On-farm storage is simplified too.

 

“Plus, with a typical fertiliser application estimated at around £6/ha, the savings in labour, fuel and machinery resulting from the single application approach are substantial.”

 

The full CF Fertiliser NPKS range is designed to have options available for most farming systems and soil types and includes KayNitro Sulphur 25-0-13 (7SO3), MultiCut Sulphur 23-4-13 (7SO3) and Heartland Sulphur 24- 8- 8 (8SO3).

 

All are True Granular Compound Fertilisers with balanced levels of all nutrients present in every granule and can be reliably spread to wider bout widths using annually calibrated and well-maintained spreaders.