Soil sampling has been an important task for Dairylink farmers during January.

Samples need to be taken ahead of slurry or fertiliser spreading and soil analysis results will be used to form a fertilisation plan for the year ahead.

The closed period for slurry spreading finishes at the end of the month for all programme participants. Slurry stores are not under pressure on Dairylink farms at present, which is all the better as ground conditions remain poor across the board.

The other task to be completed for before the end of January for Northern Ireland's farmers is to complete records of any slurry that was exported to neighbouring farms during the 2020 calendar year.

This is important for several programme participants who are not operating under a nitrates derogation and rely on slurry exports to stay under the 170kg/ha manure nitrogen limit.

More dairy farms were pushed over this limit in Northern Ireland last year because the nitrogen excretion rate for dairy cows increased from 91kg to 100kg/cow.

Read more in this week's Irish Farmers Journal and online here.