A recent analysis of the cost of dairy pasture (dry matter) in Australia, compared to alternative feeds, including forage and feed concentrates, reported a pasture cost, including all inputs (fertiliser, irrigation, pasture management etc.) of $135/tonne of dry matter (TDM), compared to the forage and concentrate alternative feeds of $370/TDM.1
Costing 30% that of forage and feed concentrates, pasture dry matter (DM) should be maximized, and is commonly done so with nitrogen, using urea fertiliser.
Nitrogen applied as urea produces about seven times additional DM per kilogram of Nitrogen. For example, 75kg/Ha of urea should provide about 240kg DM/ha additional production. On this basis, the cost of the urea cannot exceed $986/T on farm, before forage and feed concentrates become a more cost-effective alternative to urea.
While the price of urea per tonne has come down since the reported spikes in recent years, access to the fertiliser is still an issue. In addition, evidence that synthetic chemical fertilisers, like urea, can compromise pasture and overall soil productivity, is gaining traction.
So what if the same production outcome to urea could be achieved, without the negative impact to soils, animals, and human health, all at a more efficient price point?
NitrotainTE27 from ECTOL Plant and Crop Nutrients is a highly efficient liquid nitrogen fertiliser, providing 27% total nitrogen that is fully utilised. Formulated to retain nitrogen in the plant or soil, NitrotainTE27 minimises atmospheric and leaching loss and the acidification of soils.
NitrotainTE27 contains stable Nitrogen, Potassium and trace elements for soil or foliar application. It is non phytotoxic, non-acidifying and non-volatilising. These stable forms of organic nitrogen are rapidly transferred into the plant via leaves or roots.
Trials conducted by Weldon Studies in NZ and Benchmark Ag in Australia, demonstrate that a typical program of NitrotainTE27 and ECTOL Crop and Pasture will produce similar increases in pasture DM and higher levels of Metabolisable Energy (ME) as 75 Kgs of Urea at a cost of less than $75/ha. Additionally, NitrotainTE27 will continue to lift DM production and pasture quality for some months after application.
If you’re looking to maximise pasture dry matter without the chemical impact of urea, perhaps it’s time for a new nitrogen strategy?
Contact the team at ECTOL to find out how you can start making the switch today.
1. Cost of pasture, concentrates, and forages 2015-2020 (AUD). Source: Dairy Farm Monitor Project, QDAS, DairyBase (NZ), Red Sky