Soil tests et alRSS feed

Posted: Monday 23 February, 2015

by Rosemary Champion at 2:31pm in Grassland management 2 comments Comments closed

Do you ever start to do one small thing, and it grows into something bigger and bigger? Happens to me all the time - and it did yesterday. Actually, it happened three times yesterday but I'll relate one just now.

When someone tells me they've bought land, one of my first questions is "Have you had the soil tested for pH, P,K and Mg?" We had Dalmore tested in 2010 and again in 2013, but our rented grazing hasn't been tested since 2007 so I was thinking about soil testing Astwood this year and was, therefore, looking out an old invoice to see how much we'd paid last time.

This lead me to thinking about our 2013 test and the subsequent actions, so I rooted out the test and the email exchange that I had with the chappie at SAC. The advice had been to spread straight nitrogen, have lime applied and have straight potassium as muirate of potash spread too. Now, we did the nitrogen ourselves (never again) and I could remember the lime spreader coming but I had no memory of the potash being spread.

So I got out the farm accounts for 2013, went through them and there was no record of a payment made for the spreading of potash. So, at least my memory isn't failing :-)

This morning, I decided to put this oversight on my part right. Now, at 14:43, I know why I just filed the stuff back in 2013. The world of farming is seemingly impenetrable - unless you are a farmer, I presume. After three phone calls, I found a company who supplies muirate of potash - but only in 600kg bags (we need 700kg, of course) but they don't supply direct, but only through a merchant network.

So I phoned a local merchant, located via good old Google, and their agronomists are all in a meeting - but someone will call me back.

Once we get the stuff, of course, we have to get it on the ground - we have a small fertiliser spreader that takes 50kg at a time so if the stuff can be spread using that (ie it's pelleted) then we can do it ourselves, albeit 12 loads. Otherwise I need to get a local farmer / contractor to spread it for me.

I am slowly losing the will to live :-(



Treud na Mara

Saturday 14 March, 2015 at 11:31pm


Just read this entry about soil testing and wondered if you tested fields separately.



Sunday 15 March, 2015 at 8:30am

Well, we have quite small paddocks - about 1-2 acres each so I usually include two adjacent paddocks in each sample, where the conditions seem to be similar. For example, we divided a five acre field into four - I do the two paddocks at the south together and the two at the north end. But I do Sheepfold on its own because it's much drier, has a different type of sward than the others plus has mainly had the ponies on it and we lift dung every day. The other paddocks get the benefit of the dug from sheep and cattle. Now, whether we'll be able to get the contractor to spread the fertilizer differently on such small acreages is another matter :-)

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