Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Snow Joke

It's that time of year when thoughts turn to the new season ahead and fertiliser springs to mind, well it does in my house.

In Ukraine we have two perennial discussions right about now.

First off, timing; should we apply fertiliser in the snow?

When I first heard this I thought it was crackers but one thing I have learnt in all my time is not to discount seemingly mad ideas as there might be something sensible in it.

But not in this case, it is crackers.

We used to call this "recreational top dressing" back in blighty, winter was over, shooting season had come to an end, everything was painted, washed and tidied away, there was nothing left to do. Everyone was bored so out came the fertiliser spreaders and away we would go.

Loads of lovely nitrogen leaching through the soil profile before the under developed root system had time to suck it up. Worth bearing in mind here that fertiliser can account for 50% of the variable costs.

The only justification I can see for applying nitrogen on to snow in Ukraine is if you have insufficient machinery capacity for the hectares you have, then it might be worth getting some on early.

I believe it is better to wait and apply when the plants start growing, so long as it all goes on before GS30-31 then what's the problem. "Too dry" is the usual cry. Not in my experience, all the spring nitrogen I have ever applied all disappears in a matter of days even with out a rain event, so there!

Next; how much to put on?