The second meeting of the Roxburghshire Soil and Nutrient Network Farm took place in early November. The meeting began in Stichill Village Hall where various topics on each of the major nutrients were covered. The meeting then moved to host farm Girrick, where practical examples were given on how to establish the texture of your soil and optimise application of your organic manures.
Key take home messages included:
- Only around 70% of bagged Nitrogen is taken up by the plant. This figure can becan be much lower if N is applied in poor conditions. Losses are greatest when the temperature is warm and/or the soil is water-logged.
- Protected Nitrgoen fertilisers can provide environmental and financial benefits through a more gradual release of Nitrogen. The benefits however need to be balanced against any additional fertiliser cost from using these products.
- Knowing your soil texture helps to improve understanding of its ability to regulate water and retain nutrients. This allows you to prioritise drainage work and timing of field operations.
- Quantifying organic manure applications is difficult. Fresh muck will contain more moisture than composted muck and nutrient content will vary, depending on diet. Analyse your organic manures to determine the level of dry matter and nutrient value to ensure that their use is optimised.
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