Guideline Index

Chapter 15: Nutrient Planning

15.2. Factors affecting nutrient requirements

To accurately plan for nutrient applications on a dairy farm the following must be taken into account:

  • Soil type – different soil types either tie up or hold onto nutrients in different ways (see Chapter 4 for information on the physical and chemical properties of soil).
  • Current soil nutrient status – affected by soil parent material, fertiliser history, climate, stage of farm development and management.
  • The target soil nutrient levels you have set – for example, Olsen P of 20 mg/kg, Colwell K of 240 mg/kg (see Chapter 9.2.5 to 9.2.7).
  • Nutrients bought in – grain, fodder, effluent applications.
  • Nutrients removed – milk production, fodder conservation, cropping, stock sales.

As these factors are variable, nutrient requirements will vary from farm to farm, paddock to paddock and year to year. This will be discussed more in the sections on setting target nutrient levels, maintenance and capital requirements.

Nutrient planning is a vital part of the fertiliser planning process and should be reviewed on an annual basis.