• Soil testing and nutrient planning advice from GrowHow

Ross Leadbeater and Elaine Jewkes from GrowHow visited me earlier in the year to update my nutrient plans for the year. Ten more fields were sampled this time – so that’s all of the farm soil sampled in the three years I’ve been a Grassright farmer. Most of the fields this time were closer to the farm and the indices were generally good.

Ross updated the nutrient plans after the visit: I’ve decided not to grow wheat this year and grow a little more wholecrop spring barley, undersown with grass – which is a great way to get two forages. I’m taking a silage cut from some of the fields whilst others will go into grazing after harvest this year.

I’m still growing plenty of maize, which can utilise some of the manures on the farm, but the nutrient plan continues the theme of using slurry on the fields with lower soil P indices where possible, along with a little additional P fertiliser. I’ve been advised that this is the most cost-effective way of ensuring the forage is sufficiently fed with nutrients whilst gradually building the index. The silage fields were mainly low in P when they were tested, but in this way I should not only see better silage yields but an improved index when they are next sampled.