Improve your profitability by fertilizing your hay field this summer

May 25, 2021

The difficult winters and droughts of the last few years have put a strain on hay production. As a result, inventories are so low on Québec farms that some are talking about a shortage. To optimize yields and replenish inventories, meadows must be properly fertilized.

“At the moment, fertilizing your meadows is highly profitable, given that the price of hay is at a peak, while the price of fertilizers is relatively low,” says François Labrie, Agricultural Advisor at Sollio Agriculture. “The additional gains may be as high as $324 per hectare,” he adds.

To help farmers maximize forage production, Sollio Agriculture has launched the concept of N-Prairies fertilization. “There are two fertilizers formulations,” explains Labrie, “for both grasses and pulses.” The N-Prairies solution includes a fertilizer for pulses and a one for grasses and is applied after cutting.

“Due to time constraints, many farmers forget to fertilize their meadows after the first cut,” says Labrie. “The N-Prairies solution is here to remind them that proper fertilization increases yields and forage quality.”

Labrie also points out that fertilizing after harvesting ensures better plant regrowth and helps plants survive the winter.

A proven formula

Field testing between 2011 and 2013 showed that grass meadows fertilized with nitrogen produced significantly taller plants and led to higher yields.

“During testing, the application of a fertilizer such as N-Prairies resulted in significantly higher protein levels for the first cut (12.9%),” says Labrie. Applying nitrogen after harvesting also had a positive effect. “Yields increased two-fold in comparison to land plots that did not receive fertilizer after the first cut.”

This study, which was carried out at La Pocatière research site, also demonstrated that the additional income generated by proper nitrogen fertilization makes this a worthwhile investment.

According to Labrie, the most profitable fertilization method is applying urea in the spring and after the first cut. This is when the N-Prairies concept demonstrates its worth: it is good for the wallet, for yields and for forage quality—even when Mother Nature is causing trouble.

No risk of upsetting the phosphorus balance

The summer formulas of the N-Prairies fertilizers for alfalfa, clover and grasses do not contain phosphorus. “Farmers have nothing to worry about,” says Labrie. “They won’t put their farm at risk by upsetting the phosphorus balance.”

Fertilizer application must, of course, be done within the boundaries specified in the nutrient management plan  

Source : Sollio Agriculture
Subscribe to our Newsletters

Trending Video