Trial produces abundant grass in Nth Canty

SHARE

North Canterbury sheep and beef farmer, Hamish Murray, got more grass than he bargained for this spring when trialling liquid nitrogen and gibberellic acid.
Mr Murray wanted to try to mitigate some of the damage from the drought and maximise pasture recovery from the recent moisture for lambing, and so decided to trial 30ha of the liquid nitrogen and gibberellic acid combination.
‘‘We’ve been so desperate for feed from the drought that when Dan (Ravensdown Agronomist) recommended it I was keen to trial it, and it’s produced near double what I would have usually grown at this time of the year.’’
Ravensdown Agronomist Dan Pavey says that the solubility of the mix plays a big part in the results.
‘‘Express gibberellic acid has 100% solubility optimising the double hit you get with nitrogen stimulating extra tillers and gibberellic acid increasing the tiller size,’’ Mr Pavey says.
‘‘The response will vary depending on soil moisture and fertility, but it’s common to see a lift in pasture of an extra 300-500kg DM/ha from Express gibberellic acid and liquid nitrogen.’’
Mr Murray says he needed grass now and found his brome (grass) was very slow coming into lambing.
‘‘It (brome) comes a couple of weeks behind the lambs, which is too late. I’ve only done half my paddocks in this trial and you can see the visual benefits clearly. It’s certainly had a massive response.’’
Mr Murray adds that the stock prefer the taste of the grass with the gibberellic acid applied.
‘‘They’re staying on it longer and seem to really like the taste. It’s like I’ve put sugar on top of the grass.’’
He says the paddocks that haven’t had the liquid nitrogen and gibberellic acid application are well back on the stocking rate and ewe condition.
‘‘It’s been well and truly worth the cost. I usually run with an annual application of fertiliser but now I wish I’d done more. I’ll definitely be extending my application next year if our feed supply is down, which it usually is around here.’’
Culverden contractor Sam Douglas applied the mix when the soil temperature was at just five degrees, two degrees lower than the recommended minimum temperature.
Mr Murray says Mr Pavey had shown him afew pictures on what it can achieve under pretty low soil temperatures so he was reasonably confident.
Mr Murray says he was confident he was going to get a response, but wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was.
‘‘I’d hate to think where I’d be if I hadn’t used it.’’