Grass growth is, at long last, starting to take off in the North West, according to Bready milk producer Stuart Thompson.
“We managed to get the 100 or so cows already back in calf out into the paddocks in mid-April, and they are really enjoying it.
“We have a 50-acre block set aside for early grazing. And it’s great to have the opportunity, at long last, to produce milk from fresh grass. We won’t have a grazing area that’s large enough to meet the needs of all the cows until after first cut.”
Stuart milks 240 cows with his uncle David and cousin David. The herd is predominantly autumn and spring calving mainly consisting of Holstein cows, mixed with a few Brown Swiss and Brown Swiss crosses.
“It’s part of our aim for the business to produce as much milk from grazed grass as possible,” Stuart continued.
The initial grazing area received 3000 gallons of slurry per acre around the middle of March. This was followed by a dressing of Koch Advanced Nitrogen (KAN)® fertiliser, containing 38% nitrogen and added sulphur. This unique fertiliser range is made available in Ireland through Waterford-based Advanced Fertilizers and distributed in Northern Ireland by United Feeds.
Stuart continued: “We decided to opt for the new product, as it contains the highest percentage of available nitrogen in the form of urea.
“Furthermore, the urea is protected by the addition of a stabilizer called AGROTAIN®, which minimises the volatilization usually associated with urea.
“We had used straight urea in the past on the farm with mixed results but so far the performance of this appears good.”
Stephen Hamilton, from United Feeds, was a recent visitor to the Thompson farm.
“The KAN® range was introduced to Northern Ireland last year and the feedback from those farmers who have used the products has been exceptionally positive.
“In essence, it contains up to 70% more Nitrogen than CAN. The AGROTAIN®, stabilizer removes the concerns of volatilization losses from urea.
“Trials carried out repeatedly confirm a yield performance comparable to CAN. Farmers also save on transport and spreading time. The end result is a significant reduction in the cost of nitrogen fertiliser programs.”
But the even better news for local farmers is that the manufacturers of KAN have not been resting on their laurels.
Following the huge success of the product with both grassland and arable producers, Advanced Fertilizers together with United Feeds are delighted to announce that they now have a complete range of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) fertilisers available.
“This means that farmers can avail of the new technology of KAN® in their entire fertiliser programme,” explained United Feeds sales’ manager Clarence Calderwood.
“As with KAN®, the products are more concentrated than existing NPK blends so this saves time and cost of spreading.
“They are also more cost effective per unit of product compared with existing NPK blends. Sulphur is also available in some of the NPK blend range.”
Clarence concluded: “The KAN® range is the only range of stabilized nitrogen products that are available with P and K. This is due to the ongoing technological advances being made by Koch fertilizers.
“In addition to the cost savings, the environmental benefits of having AGROTAIN® in the NPK product, stabilizing the nitrogen and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are very important for the sustainability of Northern Ireland agriculture.”