Low Nitram prices aid poor crops after wet winter

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Farmers are being advised to invest in crop nutrition after the wettest winter on record has caused nutrients to leach from soils.

Crops really need a helping hand, says Hefin Llwyd, forage and arable specialist at Wynnstay. This is even more the case where mildew and septoria is being reported in autumn-sown crops, which stems from the inability of many farmers to apply T0 and T1 sprays, further stressing crops.

“Now it is about farmers taking a firefighting approach to crop protection and ensuring crops have the correct nutrition to prevent any further losses,” he says.

“Less spring crops than usual have been sown; it’s been quite sporadic, which makes it even more essential to make the most of those crops that did get going in the autumn. A lot of nutrition has been leached from the soils during the wet weather. Nitrates and sulphur are very leachable, which is why we see some sick, yellow-looking crops.”

CF Fertiliser’s blue bag Nitram readily provides ammonium nitrate, which will help fix some crops by providing the nutrition they need. “Sulphur levels may also be low, so it’s essential to look at that,” Mr Llwyd says.

The Farming Rules for Water and the legal obligation to test soils every three to five years means farmers can now accurately assess their crop requirements.

“Soil testing and having a nutrient management plan in place means farmers can tailor and target their fertiliser usage better. Under the Clean Air Strategy 2019, farmers shouldn’t apply urea after 1 April unless a urease inhibitor is added. That means blue bag Nitram is the go-to product,” he adds.

The wet weather has also massively affected grass, says Forage and arable specialist Louise Woolacott at Wynnstay.

“With forage stocks already low across the country, pushing forward yields this year will be important to replenish those stocks. It’s important to boost grass growth now, and providing the correct nutrition will do that,” she explains.

“Many farmers have also put some of their land into environmental mixes, where yields will be down. This means there is the need to optimise the rest of the farm to push grass growth and replenish forage stocks.”

Nitrogen is vital to maximising grass yields, she adds. “Nothing else will drive grass growth as much as nitrogen. This is what will help fill the pits.”.

The good news for farmers is that Nitram prices are the lowest they have been in the past four years, with costs expected to dip into the £200’s per tonne for the first time since 2018.

“Prices are now returning to some normality, and farmers can return to storing some product for next year,” she says.

“Nitram, unlike other products, is the only British-made product of its kind and, as well as being a standout and well-trusted product, it is at a price point that is affordable for farmers to use.”

More information

For all fertiliser enquiries, contact Louise Woolacott on 07879 841 672, Hefin Llwyd on 07425 985 507 or Polly Gillett on 07810 444 933