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Timing is only one factor in the decision to use fertiliser. The farmer also has to decide upon the chemical make-up of the fertiliser. This will depend on local knowledge, as well as on soil analysis. The correct balance of Nitrogen (N) Phosphate (P) and Potash (K) is just as important for growing grass as it is for other crops. The fertiliser is sold in a variety of ratios of N, P and K. Slurry and dung contain phosphate and potash. An allowance will be made if this has already been applied. Fields which are used for silage require more potash than those used only for grazing.

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The fertiliser is bought as a liquid or more usually in granular form. The granules are typically 2-3 mm in diameter (above left). They are spread from a machine which is usually attached to the back of a tractor (movie). The amount of fertiliser which is applied is controlled by the forward speed of the tractor, together with the settings on the machine. Fertiliser is a significant cost to the farmer but without it, grass production would fall dramatically.