Guideline Index

Chapter 12: Nitrogen and Nitrogen Fertilisers

12.7 Summary

  • Before deciding to apply N fertiliser, consider the economics of growing extra pasture verses buying in alternative feed sources.
  • Apply N strategically at times of the year when soil conditions are right for pasture growth and extra pasture growth is required and will be utilised.
  • Apply N at rates of 25 to 50 kg N/ha per application to actively growing pastures.
  • Maximum annual applications of 200 kg N/ha/yr are recommended to improve the efficiency of use and reduce risk of environmental loss.
  • Do not apply urea when climatic conditions are warm and dry or cold and excessively wet.
  • Avoid applying N when pastures are waterlogged. Denitrification or leaching losses can be significant, and uneconomical pasture growth responses will occur.
  • Avoid grazing until ryegrass or tall fescue pastures have grown at least 2 new leaves, and brome (prairie grass), cocksfoot and kikuyu pastures have grown at least 3 new leaves, to maximise the efficiency of N application and reduce the risk of nitrate poisoning in cattle.
  • Ensure that the extra pasture grown is utilised either through grazing or as harvested forage.