THE use of HumberPalmers’ fertilisers over a five year period has helped boost silage quality and milk output on the north Antrim dairy farm of father and son team David and Brian McClure.
Their 70-strong herd, which is milked robotically, is currently averaging 9,700L at 4.22 per cent butterfat and 3.36 per cent protein. A beef enterprise also features as an integral part of the farm enterprise.
“We also rear all our own dairy replacements,” said Brian.
“Producing as much milk from forage is a key driver for the business. We place a very strong focus on managing our grassland to the highest possible standards. As part of this commitment, we re-seed 20 acres on an annual basis.
“Traditionally, we under sow the new sward with spring wheat. This approach also guarantees us a whole crop silage source for the winter months.”
The McClures have been using the HumberPalmers’ fertiliser range consistently on silage ground.
“I was initially attracted by the fact that the products represent a source of slow release nitrogen,” Brian explained.
“But, in addition, they also act to improve the organic fraction of the soil which, in turn, releases a number of important plant nutrients.”
Brian is quick to point out that, even in a difficult weather year, the quality of the silage they are now making is exemplary. In 2017, three crops of silage were made on the farm with the following harvest dates: May 15; July 12 and September 7.
“Last year’s first cut had a dry matter value of 39.8 per cent,” he said. “The crude protein content was 16.6 per cent; D-Value 75.8; ME 12.1 and sugars 4.4 per cent. When we started feeding it, milk yields went up by an average of 3L/cow/day.”
Brian added: “But that’s only part of the story. It is also obvious that the HumberPalmers’ products are acting to improve our soil fertility levels. And this is a cumulative effect with every year that passes.”
Richard Owens, from distributor Owens Farm Solutions, was a recent visitor to the McClure farm.
He explained that the soil is an intricate mix of minerals, organic matter (humus) and living organisms, adding: “Each component depends on the other two in order to provide the optimum conditions for plant growth. It’s all about getting the right balance. Failing to do so simply ensures that crops do not realise their full potential. Modern inorganic fertilisers simply add minerals to the soil: they do not take account of the need to replenish the soil’s humic fraction.”
According to Richard, the Humber-Palmers’ range of fertilisers does take account of this requirement.
“And an increasing number of farmers in Northern Ireland are benefitting from the local availability of what constitutes a unique combination of technology and nature working hand-in-hand,” he explained.
“HumberPalmers’ high efficiency fertilisers are manufactured from a specially selected range of ingredients to maximise dry matter output, whilst assisting in improving the environment, with their unique efficient phasing properties.
“They all include a well-researched vegetable origin organic base, free from any weeds and pathogens, with a high level of humic substances. These assist in the phasing ability of the fertilisers, available only in the HumberPalmers’ range.”
He added: “With the weather being so bad over recent months, it is so important that we replenish the nutrients back into the soil while also supporting the soil structure which has been badly affected.”
So much for the theory! Research and on-farm trials have confirmed that this unique product range will out-perform the best mineral fertilisers by up to 35 per cent in terms of increased dry matter yield.
In addition, a 25 per cent higher take-up of applied nitrogen, phos-phate and potash, compared with high quality mineral fertiliser, can be expected.
A wide spectrum of available trace elements is contained in all grades of HumberPalmers’ fertilisers, thereby benefiting the soil, plants and animals.
In essence, they represent the products of choice for farmers who want to maximise output while, at the same time, complying with all the relevant regulations.
For further information, contact Richard Owens on 079 9069 0857.