Nitrogen and the sources thereof
A lawyer friend of mine asking a question in all innocence said, “If a cow’s urine is so full of nitrogen that it is causing environmental problems, why is that not enough to boost the grass”? This is a very good question indeed because we are now in a vicious cycle of huge proportions. More bagged nitrogen is going on the pastures making the uptake by the cows many times more than it would otherwise be, and therefore the cows are excreting ever more nitrogen and we are losing it to our streams and rivers. The big words here are ‘excreting’ and ‘losing’. If nitrogen is being wasted to the streams and rivers, it is lost money and lost profit. I am not against nitrogen, far from it. From time to time in critical periods it is a hugely important tool to get grass growth, but to apply it at the levels that some are doing does not make any sense at all and it is quite literally money down the drain.
Nutrient programmes from Fertilizer New Zealand take account of the bottom line at all times and I have to say we are even more concerned about our environment than my lawyer friend. There must be a balance in all soil science and an understanding of what our pasture plants are able to take up and use. If we are applying too much of one nutrient over another there will be waste and that is lost money.
Clover produces most of the nitrogen in our pastures so we nurture that. Effluent distribution certainly puts some back in also. Some comes from the atmosphere (believe it or not) and, yes, some comes out of a bag. But the last option is by a country mile the most expensive so we at Fertilizer New Zealand like to keep that one to a minimum.
Call us, we are here to help.
John Barnes, Managing Director