THIS STARK picture (right) shows the difference between combine drilling barley with fertiliser against seed only – as you can see the combi-drilled dark green is well in front of the lighter area.

Trial results have shown a difference of up to -30% yield increase when using the broadcasting method and the benefit of combine drilling is that the seed and the fertiliser are beside each other in the soil, pointed out Graeme Logan, of Glasson Fertilisers.

“Being close to the seed increases root development – we call it ‘root miles’. The quicker plant grow will allows more uptake of all the soil nutrient and water necessary for plant growth,” he said.

“AHDB-funded trials confirmed that more than 92% of the applied phosphorus got locked-up due the positive-charge in the P element,” he said.

“Applying 50kg/ha of P2o5 is 5gm/sq m divided by the number of viable seeds/plant – which is not a lot of nutrition.”

He said Glasson’s Nutricharge – a phosphorus optimiser – has been shown to increase plant uptake of P.

Potassium, also an essential nutrient, has many plant functions and if the status has less than ‘medium’, then the nitrogen fertiliser utilisation efficiency (NFUE) is greatly reduced, he added, pointing out that lodging due to weak plants and disease pressure are related to a low potassium availability.

“Calcium, a secondary plant nutrient, is vital for healthy plants and a high percentage of our Scottish soil reports are showing ‘low’ to ‘very low’ calcium – that is below 1600mg/kg. Have you tested your fields for calcium? It does not necessarily show that if the soil pH is satisfactory, then the calcium is too,” pointed out Mr Logan.

Calcium is required for the formation of new cells, so is required for roots, stems and leaves to grow. It is also used by plants when they respond to pest and disease attacks.

“The point is that it’s beneficial to know the fertility of your fields. They are your profit centre. Precise nutrients at the start of life is a good start to profit,” he added.