Slurry is an extremely valuable fertiliser and a typical 6% dry matter slurry can typically contain 1.2kg of readily available N/m3.
However, it’s key to make the most of every gallon. If dairy slurry is broadcast and not incorporated, at least 40% of the readily available nitrogen can be lost as ammonia according to the Defra code of practice.
One cubic meter equals 220 gallons, so an application of 7,500 gallons/hectare (34m3) applies roughly 41kg of readily available N. Broadcasting means you could lose 16.3kg - which at today’s prices is worth £44.8/ha in lost nitrogen. Ammonia losses are also bad for the environment.
Ways to reduce the losses
It is important to apply by trailing shoe, shallow injection or band spread to reduce the loss of valuable nitrogen. On a 200 acre farm you could reduce N losses by around £3584 per slurry application simply by changing the way your slurry is applied,
based on 34.5% AN at £950/ton. The smaller the surface area of the slurry, the less nitrogen is lost.
Choose the right weather conditions - applying slurry before heavy rain should be avoided as well as after prolonged dry periods.
Silage cutting systems demand huge amounts of potassium (K), and in some cases more K is required than N. Utilising slurry within your silage system, as well as bagged fertiliser, will be essential to keeping costs down.