With increasing fertiliser costs, soil and pasture testing are key if farmers want to get the most out of their fertiliser says New Zealand’s leading expert in soil fertility, Hamilton-based Soil Scientist Dr Gordon Rajendram (PhD).
Looking at the numbers, Nitrogen (urea) prices have increased by ~ 50% (~ $565 – ~ $850) and Phosphate prices have gone up from between ~$3 kg to $4 to $5 per Kg P.
“Milk solid prices are the highest it’s been for quite a while and lamb and beef pricing is very good,” says Gordon.
The reason for these price hikes is due to several reasons. A major culprit of the price spike is international shipping going up due to issues as well as the internal cost of transport lifted due to fuel costs going up.
The price of international nitrogen fertilizer is also related to the increase in wheat pricing the farmer is getting.
“GHG footprint for growing wheat – N fertiliser accounts for ~60% when other fert & lime is only ~10%,” adds Gordon.
Fertiliser is also in high demand in India due to subsidies given to their farmers for fertiliser.
But no matter the reason, farmers will need to get more bang for their buck when it comes to fertilizer. And the answer on how to do this is through soil and pasture/herbage testing.
Soil and herbage testing will give you accurate data about the mineral imbalances that may be affecting the health of your crops or livestock. “Soil testing allows you to make the best and most informed, data-based decisions for their farm, resulting in healthier land and stock as well as making a difference on your bottom line,” advises Gordon.
After soil testing, you can then develop a fertiliser programme specific to each paddock or area which will save you money by determining the correct proportion of fertiliser to apply in each paddock or area. Spreading on too little fertiliser is just as wasteful as applying too much.
About The Soil Scientist
Gordon is dedicated to helping all farmers get the most out of their soil so that their farm can work more efficiently, be sustainable while improving the farm profitability.
Phone: 021 466 077
Phone: 0274 587 724