By Gineke Mons

Dairy farmer Nanne Heida from Mildam in Friesland saves about four thousand euros a year on fertiliser costs for his grassland. He ascribes that saving to the use of AgriMestMix, which is added to cattle slurry.
AgriMestMix is applied as a combination of liquid minerals and other minerals in powder form. The mixture is poured over the manure grilles once a week. The minerals in the powder bind the toxic compounds in the manure and encourage bacterial growth according to his supplier, Rinze Joustra of Rinagro in Piaam. The liquid minerals make sure aerobic conversion of organic matter such as straw in the slurry starts to occur even while the slurry is still in the stalls. The organically bonded nitrogen is therefore already immediately available when the slurry is taken away, explains Joustra. “On top of that, the slurry is pH neutral, so the ammonia is not volatile and doesn’t evaporate. So you retain the nitrogen from the ammonia in the manure. All in all, Joustra says, the net result is that the bioavailability of the fertilising compounds for the grassland is much improved. Which reduces the amount of other fertilisers needed. Joustra says that there are thousands of farmers who use it. “Here in the south-west of Friesland, about 85 per cent of the farmers are using it.” Nanne Heida is one of them. He is a dairy farmer from Mildam, with 120 cows that are indoors the whole year round. They get the same silage, summer and winter. The yield from his 45 acres of grassland and the quality of the silage are therefore very important to this dairy farmer. He says, “Before I started using AgriMestMix, I had already reduced the amount of fertiliser I was adding quite a bit, from the equivalent of four hundred kilograms of pure nitrogen per hectare down to two hundred. But that had really gone too far – the protein content dropped, the grass became too yellow and it didn’t grow enough.”

That is why he started using the slurry improver six years ago. It turned out to be effective. Nitrogen supplementation has been reduced to the equivalent of 95 kilos of pure nitrogen per hectare, while the raw silage yield and composition are unchanged. Heida has stored five cuts this year with an average of three thousand kilograms of dry material per hectare. He says, “No way am I going to stop using that stuff.”

source: Agrarisch Dagblad