With fertilizer inputs accounting for the third highest input cost on dairy farms, after supplements and labour, it is critical you monitor and manage your fertilizer requirements. Whole farm soil analysis is a useful tool to accurately measure the nutrient status in your paddocks to enable increased efficiency in fertilizer applications with reduction in input cost. It involves testing each paddock or groups of paddocks based on management practice/soil types on your farm for, at least, the minimum of pH, phosphorus and potassium.
The ‘Nutrient Management Systems for Dairying (NMS)’ project run by Western Dairy and Dairying for Tomorrow, and funded by DAFF, demonstrates that the cost of intensive soil whole farm soil analysis was offset by the reduction in the amount of fertilizer used. In addition, matching fertiliser application to soil nutrient levels and pasture production is a more efficient use of fertilizers.