Liquid Fertiliser Aiding Mixed Farm Livestock Expansion
Better utilization of storage space and rising input costs has seen a leaning towards a liquid fertiliser system on a South Yorkshire mixed farming enterprise. Expansion of an existing 150 beef cattle finishing unit and the introduction of a water buffalo enterprise meant covered space was at a premium.
Researching fertiliser options highlighted potential benefits over a granular system for Stephen and Cath Battye and their son Robert. Historically, the business relied on granular fertiliser in bags and in bulk that needed to be stored under cover to protect it from the elements. But freeing up this valuable space by switching to liquid fertiliser and installing a 35m2 liquid fertiliser tank supplied by OMEX, has a had a significant impact on the business.
“The fact that we can buy OMEX liquid nitrogen when the prices are low and have it delivered, was very attractive both financially and convenient. Our tank is filled when stocks start getting low, which takes a lot of pressure off me,” says Robert. “But also since switching we have noticed that our headlands have much improved and the crops are generally more uniform. We have small fields and so when trying to evenly apply a granular fertiliser through a spinner it’s just not possible to get the accuracy.
“Cereals now receive 150 units of nitrogen in two applications, which is what we always used to do, but uptake is immediate and this has had a positive impact on crop performance during the growing season, which has ultimately helped increase yield. Within two days after application the crops look greener and healthier.
“The accuracy with liquids means we can spray to a line one metre away from the permanent electric fence around the edge of grass fields, so when the cattle go out to grass they eat the sweater areas from under the fence first. This helps to keep the electric fence clear of grass for the duration.
“Speed of nitrogen uptake by the crop where liquid has been applied also helps to extend the growing season by 5-10%,” says Robert. “All the cattle find the grass much more palatable too.”
Switching to OMEX has helped to reduce labour and machines across the business explains Steve, but in his opinion liquid nitrogen is best applied when there is moisture in the atmosphere to avoid the potential of scorch. He overcame this issue in the very hot spell of 2018 by applying liquid fertiliser only at night.