When speaking to discussion groups and farmers down through the years, I have always felt that people switched off when it came to soil fertility and grassland management.

CAN fertiliser at €800/t could change all that, with a lot of farmers looking at fertiliser prices at the moment and wondering what to do.

Soil fertility

One of the first things drystock farmers can do is try and correct soil fertility, with particular emphasis on correcting pH.

One of the first steps is to soil sample your farm. In total, 90% of soil samples taken from drystock farms are deficient in potassium, phosphorus or have a poor pH.

This means that any nitrogen being spread on this land will not be working to its maximum efficiency.

Spreading lime is one of the cheapest ways of increasing nitrogen efficiency and this should be the first port of call in spring.


On many farms, slurry is treated as a nuisance, with many seeing it as a problem to get rid of rather than a source of fertiliser.

Slurry will need to be used a lot better in 2022, with more targeted application at lower rates to try and cut down on the amount of fertiliser used on the farm.


Have a plan around your feed budget and make sure there is no silage wasted this winter.

No silage should be sold and instead bank it for winter 2022 and cut down on the amount of silage needed in summer 2022.

Look at other options like buying hay and storing it until next year.

Next year won’t be a year for carrying free passengers. Can you offload a little when prices are good? It’s time to batten down the hatches ahead of what could be rough seas in 2022.