Fertiliser regimes featuring an early application of Sulphur have boosted grass yields by up to 30% and added over 1.0t DM/ha on both recently re-seeded leys and permanent pasture in trials at Newton Rigg College in Cumbria.
Using SingleTop 27N + 12SO3 true granular compound as the first application of a full Sulphur programme also resulted in silage crude proteins lifting from 14.1% to 17.8% in the re-seeded leys, the results show.
On plots that had been reseeded in 2016/2017, those receiving the Sulphur programme starting with the first application produced a yield of 8.2 t DM/ha and those receiving no Sulphur produced 7.1t/ha.
Trials on the same field using a range of grass varieties and mixes showed an average yield improvement of 0.93t/ha from the early Sulphur programme compared to plots receiving no Sulphur at all and on permanent pasture yields lifted from 4.0t DM/ha to 5.2t DM/ha – a 1.2t DM/ha gain representing an improvement of 30%.
“The extent of the response to the early application before first-cut has been a bit of an eye opener''
James Todd, Newton Rigg Farm Manager
“Especially as the yield response was fairly consistent across all management scenarios including in permanent pasture that was previously grazed with sheep and on lighter and heavier soils.”
Slurry is usually applied from February until the close of the application period to provide around 10kg N/ha with the first application of solid fertiliser being in the form of Ammonium Nitrate (34.5%N) in mid April at a rate of 74kg N/Ha, he explains.
“After that, we would use the ‘all in one’ compound KayNitro Sulphur (25-0-13+7SO3) for aftercut applications. P is never a problem here with all the slurry we put on so an NKS compound is ideal for us.
“We would apply the KayNitro Sulphur at first cut to provide 60kg N/ha and about 17kg SO3/ha and this would be repeated after each subsequent cut gradually cutting down to about 30kg N/ha and about 8kg SO3/ha.”
“In effect, all we were doing was moving the first Sulphur application ahead of first cut but the effects of doing this was very noticeable in the field and in the subsequent results.
“It’s made us think about how we apply Sulphur in the future. We knew the importance of Sulphur in supporting N utilisation and its role in crude protein synthesis, but always thought early applications would be compromised by low soil temperatures.
“Extending the trial results across the farm could result in a substantial amount of extra grass produced from existing resources but what is even more impressive is the lift in silage crude protein from 14.1% to 17.8% on the reseeded land.
“When you consider the trial field was North East facing, exposed and usually wet for much of the year, the results are doubly impressive.”