Managing Nutrient Requirements in Hay Pasture

Soil and crop nutrition management is essential in boosting pasture quality and therefore hay and silage quality. Careful consideration needs to be given to all pasture types to ensure all essential nutrients are available to prevent growth limitation due to deficiency.

Hay production removes large quantities of nutrients from the soil which are crucial to replace to maintain soil and crop health. According to the DPI NSW (Havilah et al., 2021), ryegrass hay removes on average 30kg/t of Nitrogen, 3 kg/t of Phosphorus, 20kg/t of Potassium, 3kg/t of Sulphur, and 4kg/t of Calcium. Furthermore, legume pastures contain 3-4 times more calcium than grasses, which is lost when removed as hay or silage and if left unmanaged can lead to calcium depletion or deficit.

Applying sulphur alongside nitrogen to maximise N uptake is the best way to ensure a great return on investment and growers may see a potential increase in dry matter production of grasses. Similarly, Phosphorus is often a limiting nutrient in Australian soils and is necessary to promote rapid growth and nitrogen fixation. Potassium is required to build disease and pest tolerance by increasing the thickness of plant cell walls. Calcium is important in maintaining soil structure and growth of root tips and meristems.

Soil testing for true nutrient levels will assist in creating a nutrient management plan for your pasture as well as identifying the best fertiliser blend and rate to boost quality and growth. Where there were reduced or no Autumn fertiliser applications, fertiliser should be applied 10 weeks before hay cutting and for optimal results should be applied where the crop is at 5cm or more in height.

Depending on your soil requirements, applying fertiliser in an NPKS blend to your pasture is an effective way to manage your soil nutrients. Impact Fertilisers’ Hay Pro range is a high-quality NPKS blend with added Ca which can be fitted to your soil analysis. Speak with your local agronomist to find a combination that best suits your region or climate.

 

N

P

K

S

Ca

Mg

Cu

Zn

Hay Pro N

16.6

4.9

19.0

5.2

0.1

     

Hay Pro S

11.7

4.7

23.9

4.6

0.3

     

Hay Pro S Mg1%

11.9

4.6

24.0

4.3

 

1.0

   

Hay Pro K

16.0

5.1

25.0

0.4

0.1

     

Hay Pro P

11.7

7.7

19.0

6.3

0.2