With the days getting shorter and the temperatures slowly reclining summer is drawing to an end (sigh). It is time to start planning your annual fertilizer regime.
Autumn is the best time to apply fertilizer as most paddocks are easily accessible this time of year and will provide a boost for your grass before winter.
The first step is to get a soil test done. Soil tests are a very useful tool when choosing the correct fertilizer for your land. Fertilizer companies provide this testing service and can provide recommendations on what fertilizer to apply. Contact your local fertilizer store or rep they will be able to help you out, they can even organise a contractor to spread you fertilizer.
Understanding the jargon.
All fertilizers have a 3 or 4 number code eg. Ravensdown Cropmaster 20 is 20-10-0-12. These numbers represent the percentage of macro nutrients in the product.
Most fertilizers are acidic. This means repeated applications of fertilizer will lower the ph level of your soil reducing the health of your pasture and its ability to support pasture growth. Applying lime will neutralise the soil allowing everything to thrive. Ideally apply lime every 3 to 4 years at a rate of 2 ton per hectare.
Other points to note
It is best to apply fertilizer when the soil is relatively dry and there is no chance of heavy rail, this will minimise nutrient run-off and give you the best benefit from your investment.
After applying fertilizer wait at least 10 days before grazing your paddocks. This will reduce the chance of your animals suffering from fluorosis, also known as phosphate poisoning. This condition is caused by animals ingesting the fertilizer and can be fatal.
DIY advice for lifestylers, written by Kiwi Cattle Yards owner, Euan Seymour.