The practice of spreading slurry over hedges has been outlawed.

Historically seen as an inconvenience for many livestock farmers, slurry is fast becoming a valued farm commodity.

Its popularity may be driven by the escalating cost of inorganic nitrogen, or perhaps because the stricter regulations on how and when it can be applied are ensuring farmers get more from their muck. Whilst it is great to see better use of on-farm resources, there is still more that can be done to ensure its full potential is realised.

Treating slurry with our slurry conditioner Digest-It has proven to produce significant benefits.

Its unique blend of bacteria and enzymes converts ammonia into a more readily available form of nitrogen which is easily absorbed by plants. Additionally, it breaks down the crust of the slurry which enhances the phosphorus, potassium and sulphur content as well as making it runnier and easier to apply by injection or trailing shoe. We are so confident in the success of this product, we are currently offering a complimentary pre- and post-treatment analysis for those who sign up to our winter treatment programme. As witnessed by our case studies from the spring edition of KnowHow, Johnnie Park and John Buckley, the results show unequivocally the improved nutrient value and financial return.

But there’s more.

The case studies below show how the featured farmers are making the most of their home-grown feeds and challenging the rumen to unlock its fill potential, by the same token we also need to challenge our grassland to unlock the full potential of our home-produced fertiliser.

Case studies:
Banishing feed lorries to drive down costs
How two farmers trade from combine to cow
Using beans for finishing cuts two-thirds from costs
Zero-tolerance of mouldy bales leads contractor to BaleSafe

Crimping grain increases its protein and overall energy, but to achieve the desired milk yield or daily liveweight gain you would formulate the ration to feed the crimp alongside the other ingredients at the optimum ratio. Since treating slurry with Digest-It also increases the nutrient value of the fertiliser, the same approach should be applied when planning how to feed your grassland.

As highlighted by Dr George Fisher in this article the basics need to be right and bagged fertiliser, whilst important, should be used only as a top up when the naturally available nutrients (such as those in slurry or fixed by a previous legume crop) cannot sustain the needs of the plant.

Slurry-wise, launched in our summer KnowHow, was established in collaboration with Dr Fisher to help achieve this. On submission of soil analysis and slurry analysis reports, Dr Fisher will discuss the cropping plan with you and produce a written report which will be a useful tool to further improve the efficiency of your milk and/or meat production. We will also offer a pre-cut silage analysis to ensure you cut at the optimum time and have selected the correct preservative to produce the best possible silage.

This may only be a small part of the big picture, but small efficiencies across every stage of the production cycle will build together to increase business resilience against volatile prices and changes in industry support, as well as ticking a few environmental boxes too.

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