Ought to farms promote or chop straw with fertiliser costs excessive? – Farmers

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The worth of straw, whether or not for energy stations or conventional forage and bedding markets stays, buoyant, and lots of growers will likely be trying to benefit from that.

Nonetheless, with excessive phosphorus (P) and potassium (Ok) fertiliser costs this season, the worth of straw as an economical supplier of those vitamins, a higher appreciation of the natural matter standing of soils and the significance of straw for soil well being, raises an growing variety of questions over straw elimination.

Rob Jewers, fertiliser and crop diet specialist for Hutchinsons, believes that to be able to make an knowledgeable determination as as to whether to promote or incorporate, step one is calculating the worth of nutrient eliminated in baled straw.

See additionally: Tricks to obtain profitable long-term grain storage

Mr Jewers recommends trying on the values of various straw varieties utilizing present market information. “These may be discovered within the AHDB Nutrient Administration Information [RB209 Section 4 – Arable Crops, March 2022 edition]. These figures can be utilized the place the straw is just not weighed when eliminated.”

He notes that because the potash content material of straw can fluctuate considerably relying on water availability throughout crop maturity and straw baling, it’s worthwhile figuring out the nutrient content material of consultant straw samples by laboratory evaluation.

Utilizing present costs in June for trisodium phosphate (TSP) at £930/t = £2.02p/kg P and muriate of phosphate at £770/t = £1.28p/kgK, it’s potential to calculate that for a winter wheat crop yielding 10t/ha, if the grain and straw is taken off, this equates to 70kg/ha of phosphate elimination within the type of P2O5 and 105kg/ha of potash elimination within the type of K2O, he says.

“This works out at £64.87/ha of further fertiliser worth in straw being eliminated. As compared, eventually yr’s costs this was solely £26.07/ha – that’s a distinction of £38.80/ha worth.”

“Taking a look at one other instance – say, a crop of winter oats with grain and straw taken off based mostly on a 8t/ha crop – there’s a lack of 77kg of phosphate and 132kg/ha of potash, so the extra fertiliser worth in straw eliminated is £112.86/ha, which is a distinction of £67.68/ha over final yr, when the extra worth was £45.18/ha.”

“The necessary message right here is to reinvest a number of the cash made again into changing the diet that has been eliminated,” he says.

Mr Jewers factors out that these values are purely the monetary substitute worth of the vitamins eliminated in straw solely.

Nonetheless, there are different components to be considered akin to elevated visitors and related soil compaction – this can be a significantly consideration in wetter areas of the nation the place additional visitors will virtually definitely trigger injury to the soil construction.

There may be additionally the worth of natural matter close to constructing soil construction.

Change in fertiliser worth of straw

Crop Yield (t/ha) Phosphate elimination

(kg/ha P) P2O5)

Potash Elimination

kg/ha Ok2O

Present further fertiliser worth in straw eliminated (£/ha) Further fertiliser worth in straw eliminated based mostly on June 2021 costs (£/ha)  

Distinction

Winter wheat grain solely 10 65 55      
Winter wheat (grain and straw) 10 70 105 £64.87 £26.07 +£38.80 
Winter barley grain solely 8.0 64 44      
Winter barley (grain and straw) 8.0 68 84 £51.90 £20.86 +£31.04
Winter oats grain solely 8.0 64 44      
Winter oats (grain and straw) 8.0 77 132 £112.86 £45.18 +£67.68
Spring barley grain solely 7.0 56 39      
Spring barley (grain and straw) 7.0 60 84 £57.31 £22.80 +£34.54
OSR seed solely 4.0 56 44      
OSR (seed and straw) 4.0 60 70 £36.03 £14.79 +£21.24
*Elimination charges are taken from the AHDB Nutrient Administration Information (RB209 Part 4 – Arable Crops, March 2022 Version). These figures can be utilized the place the straw is just not weighed when eliminated. 

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