Salt on grassland?

steveR

Member
Mixed Farmer
I have been told before now, that an application of salt will improve the palatability of PP. If so, how much??

Got one field, that the stock do not like the one end much at all. Ph is OK as limed last year. Grass species have changed over the past 2-3 years IMO.
 
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Anymulewilldo

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cheshire
Next door had this problem. Field was put too cereals for wholecrop as a break then reseeded into grass and still wasn’t being grazed cleanly. Ended up with full soil and grass analysis on the one field. For some reason that 1 20 acre field out of 500 is unbelievably high in magnesium. This makes the grass as bitter as hell and the milk beasts won’t eat it down properly. I can’t remember what he treated it with in the end. I know he had too spend a LOT of money on that one field too get it matching the others. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

An Gof

Member
Location
Cornwall
Kainit is a good way of applying Sodium. Have a look at this article from PDA which gives the basic information and application guidance.

 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I have been told before now, that an application of salt will improve the palatability of PP. If so, how much??

Got one field, that the stock do not like the one end much at all. Ph is OK as limed last year. Grass species have changed ober the past 2-3 years IMO.
Sight unseen, 100kg/ha or "a bag to the acre" won't hurt much.

It could be as simple as subdividing the field so the stock have to stay there, for a couple of grazing cycles, just to give it a bit more golden hoof - bearing in mind that alot of slurry / effluent is already high in salt unless the whole area is lacking. Or put some salt blocks down that end? 🤷‍♂️

also bear in mind that high sodium can increase metabolic issues just as high K can, by making Mg availability wibbly-wobbly, so best done well ahead of lambing

I applied 500l and 1000l /ha of seawater once as an experiment and definitely saw where I'd missed by the end of summer, they suggest it is in the plant for 6-8 weeks after applying ag salt via topdressing
 
Next door had this problem. Field was put too cereals for wholecrop as a break then reseeded into grass and still wasn’t being grazed cleanly. Ended up with full soil and grass analysis on the one field. For some reason that 1 20 acre field out of 500 is unbelievably high in magnesium. This makes the grass as bitter as hell and the milk beasts won’t eat it down properly. I can’t remember what he treated it with in the end. I know he had too spend a LOT of money on that one field too get it matching the others. 🤷🏻‍♂️
I have a feeling high mag needs gypsum
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
Sight unseen, 100kg/ha or "a bag to the acre" won't hurt much.

It could be as simple as subdividing the field so the stock have to stay there, for a couple of grazing cycles, just to give it a bit more golden hoof - bearing in mind that alot of slurry / effluent is already high in salt unless the whole area is lacking. Or put some salt blocks down that end? 🤷‍♂️

also bear in mind that high sodium can increase metabolic issues just as high K can, by making Mg availability wibbly-wobbly, so best done well ahead of lambing

I applied 500l and 1000l /ha of seawater once as an experiment and definitely saw where I'd missed by the end of summer, they suggest it is in the plant for 6-8 weeks after applying ag salt via topdressing
Odd, some of my most coastal fields won’t graze cleanly yet show very low in sodium on a broad spectrum soil sample yet get burnt off every storm with quite often sea foam laying on the fields like snow 🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Odd, some of my most coastal fields won’t graze cleanly yet show very low in sodium on a broad spectrum soil sample yet get burnt off every storm 🤷🏻‍♂️
Yeah, I'd well believe that.

We're trying to get things rebooted here and usually the main issues are "what's been put on it", eg the more P you applied the worse it cycles by itself

if you think of this field as a big community that would naturally be very primitive and ultimately share all resources in order to survive, and then intervene by dropping money and supplies out of an aircraft - sharing suddenly becomes a much lower priority than holding on to whatever you got for free.
No matter how much richer the community looks from the outside, it's now MUCH poorer than before

and that's how I came to be a fertiliser truck operator that doesn't ever want to spread on my own paddocks 🙂 not even when nobody is looking
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
Yeah, I'd well believe that.

We're trying to get things rebooted here and usually the main issues are "what's been put on it", eg the more P you applied the worse it cycles by itself

if you think of this field as a big community that would naturally be very primitive and ultimately share all resources in order to survive, and then intervene by dropping money and supplies out of an aircraft - sharing suddenly becomes a much lower priority than holding on to whatever you got for free.
No matter how much richer the community looks from the outside, it's now MUCH poorer than before

and that's how I came to be a fertiliser truck operator that doesn't ever want to spread on my own paddocks 🙂 not even when nobody is looking
Lol, 1 field in particular is bad, 1.5/10 in Sodium yet ph is 6.8, k is 3+ and p 3+, organic land, grows cereals great but struggles with grass, been reseeded 3 times in 9 years and it’s an awkward field to do as it has 10 fields going off it 🤦🏻‍♂️
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Lol, 1 field in particular is bad, 1.5/10 in Sodium yet ph is 6.8, k is 3+ and p 3+, organic land, grows cereals great but struggles with grass, been reseeded 3 times in 9 years and it’s an awkward field to do as it has 10 fields going off it 🤦🏻‍♂️
Be interested to see how it would respond to a sabbatical fallow 🙂

edit, could you fence a pen somewhere in that field with old hurdles, and test it out - just don't graze it for a year and see what happens when you open it back up
 
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@steveR
Maybe its a better idea to inspect the poorly grazed grass to see why the stock are rejecting it before spending money on ways to make it attractive to eat. Topping may be a better option if machinery can traverse the paddock.
Is your stocking rate during times of rapid grass growth too low, so that areas less grazed develop a leaf age where digestibility dramatically drops, hence rejection occurs? Or, are the rejected bits restricted to clumps of a less palatable species? Or, is there not enough species included in the sward (especially legumes) to add variety to the grazers diet? etc.

If you can sort the cause, it will save the "forever" expenses.
 
Need broad spec soil analysis. Salt may help palatability but it might be unpalatable for other reasons entirely. The old fashioned rule of thumb was 50kg/acre from memory and the stuff was just good old rock salt which isn't that expensive.

Don't expect huge differences in grass growth by putting on a dash of sodium. Doesn't work that way. It's like the old trace element in your nitrogen job.

Putting on a dose of nitrogen + sulphur will probably sort many woes, along with some good sunshine and warmth.

If your P and K indices are already high, avoid marmalading the field with slurry or dung as it could get even more sour.
 

steveR

Member
Mixed Farmer
Need broad spec soil analysis. Salt may help palatability but it might be unpalatable for other reasons entirely. The old fashioned rule of thumb was 50kg/acre from memory and the stuff was just good old rock salt which isn't that expensive.

Don't expect huge differences in grass growth by putting on a dash of sodium. Doesn't work that way. It's like the old trace element in your nitrogen job.

Putting on a dose of nitrogen + sulphur will probably sort many woes, along with some good sunshine and warmth.

If your P and K indices are already high, avoid marmalading the field with slurry or dung as it could get even more sour.
PK is OK but not astonishing, testing last year showed up nothing to worry about, but that is down to what I tested for, I would agree! ;)

Used NS last year, but only light levels, bit in teh Spring, and then mid Summer. Had a light dressing of FYM the previous Autumn over the whole 7ha. About half was hayed late on. I topped the poor pasture, and left a patch as control, which remained slightly less palatable than the topped.mown areas.

Species mix has become less interesting over the past 2 years, so I was pondering a roundup topping next Spring, then DD some new seeds in.
 

steveR

Member
Mixed Farmer
Just do what I did, but some cheap road salt and give it a go.

I can’t remember the figures, but it turned out I had put on several times the recommended dose, but Christ, did I have some grass that year!? It was an amazing difference.

The sheep did well and we thousands of mushrooms that year too.
Kind of like what I have heard... :)

Think I'll try and source some and have a try.
 

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Five nature-recovery projects spanning 100,000ha launched

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Written by Michelle Martin from Agriland

Image-source-Savills-field-640x360.jpg
Five nature-recovery projects spanning nearly 100,000ha across the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, the Peak District, Norfolk and Somerset have been announced by the government and Natural England today (Thursday, May 26).

This is the equivalent in size to all 219 current National Reserves.

The aim of the projects is to deliver nature recovery at a landscape scale, helping to tackle biodiversity loss, climate change and improve public health and well-being.

All five projects will make a significant contribution towards the national delivery of the international commitment to protect at least 30% of land and...
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