CAN fertiliser safe to spread in dry conditions
The Fertilizer Association of Ireland (FAI) has advised farmers to be ready to spread ahead or immediately after forecasted rain to maximise uptake in recovering grass crops.

According to Met Éireann, soil moisture deficits range from 55mm in the northwest to 90mm in the southeast. As a result, plant uptake of nutrients will be low as well as growth.

According to the FAI, it is safe to spread CAN products in the current dry conditions. They may not become incorporated in soils until rain comes but there will be no loss through volatilisation. Once growth resumes, uptake will increase and it is important to have the nutrients available to the plant for quick recovery. Some 20 or 30 units of N per acre should be spread before or after rain.

Stress

It is important to remember that most grass crops are under severe stress. This may warrant the application of a CAN-based product plus sulphur to help to maximise the uptake of nitrogen. It will also help the grass to maintain better feed quality later in the season.

Where slurry has been spread, spreading nitrogen and sulphur should be considered as nitrogen loss will have been high in those fields over the recent period.

Phosphorus and potassium are recommended to be spread at low to medium rates to help root recovery and water uptake. Phosphate will help stunted plants to tiller and to speed up sward recovery.

Soil levels of potassium, as well as applied K, will be vital to recover deficiencies in grass. Water is the key to stopping mineral deficiency so having adequate levels of K will ensure good water uptake.

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KT farm improvement deadline extended
The deadline for submission of data for farm improvement plans has been extended to facilitate weather conditions.

A two-week extension to the date for submission of farm improvement plans in the Knowledge Transfer (KT) Scheme has been granted. Farmers now have until 14 August to submit their plans. However, the 31 July deadline for holding meetings of KT groups remains in place.

Processing will begin on cases submitted by the original 31 July deadline in order to ensure that any impact on payment timelines is minimised, the Department has said.

“This extension has arisen on foot of concerns expressed in relation to the amount of resources currently being dedicated by advisory services to assisting farmers in dealing with the current weather conditions,” Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said.

Creed urged all participants in KT groups to submit their farm improvement plan data as soon as possible.

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Weekend weather: close and humid
The outlook from Met Éireann is for close and humid weather much of the time, but mixed. Some bright or sunny spells at times, but cloudy, misty, damp periods too.

The best of any sunshine will be over Ulster later on Friday. Top temperatures 17 to 21°C, best in parts of east Munster and south Leinster. Moderate southwest winds this morning will become northwesterly later.

Mild and misty Friday night with a mix of clear spells and cloudy periods. Some patches of drizzle in places early on, but generally dry.

Saturday

Largely dry and bright on Saturday. Some hazy sunshine, but cloudy periods too, especially so over parts of Ulster and Connacht, where some drizzle is likely later in the day in Atlantic coastal areas. Top temperatures 17 to 21°C, in just light to moderate southwesterly breezes.

Saturday night

Mild and misty overnight. Some patches of drizzle will develop along the northwest coast, but most other areas should be dry. Lowest temperatures 11 to 14°C in light variable or southwesterly breezes.

Sunday

Close and humid in light to moderate southwesterly breezes. Rather cloudy and misty generally, with scattered patches of drizzle and fog about. These mainly over Ulster and Connacht. But dry, bright spells will develop too, with some sunshine coming through at times. Highs of 18 to 20°C in many northern and western areas, but values in the low to mid-20s elsewhere, best of all in sunny breaks. Humid and misty overnight also, with occasional drizzle about and lows of 14 or 15°C.

Monday

Remaining close and humid, but rather mixed. Some dry, bright spells, but cloudy, misty periods too, with occasional rain and patches of fog. Top temperatures 18 to 20°C in many western and northern areas, but in the low 20s over more southern and eastern areas.

Tuesday

Fresher for Tuesday, with bright or sunny spells, but some cloudy periods at times too. Mostly dry, with any showers light and very well scattered. Highs of 16 to 20°C in just moderate southwesterly breezes.

Management notes

Drought conditions, housing bulls and farm safety are all topics for this week's beef management notes.

In dairy this week, Aidan Brennan looks at reducing grass demand, the outlook for grass growth and says farmers should stay positive during the drought.

This week's sheep management notes cover drought management, worm burdens, blowfly strike and cobalt supplementation.

And in tillage, with grain yields appearing to be down on recent years, the option to grow forage catch crops might help to bolster the yield loss.