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Nitrogen Management Solutions

A new approach to soil nitrogen

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient to be able to achieve high crop yields and quality, and so are necessary for feeding the world’s growing population. Nitrogen is an essential element in amino acids / proteins and a key component of chlorophyll – so without nitrogen there cannot be any life.

Nitrogen fertilisers can be applied in many different forms. These nitrogen-based fertilisers can be artificial (including urea, ammonium nitrate) or organic manures (including cattle slurry, pig slurry, digestate from anaerobic digesters).

Not all nitrogen applied as a fertiliser ends up in the crop

The problem is that often the nitrogen is not stabilised and can be lost to the environment.

This means that –

1) The environment is negatively impacted

2) Crops can possibly lack sufficient nutrition which then restricts yield and quality

3) Farmers are not making the most efficient use of resources – about 50% of applied nitrogen fertilisers are fixed by the crop

Nitrogen (in ammonia, nitrous oxide and nitrates) that is lost from these un-stabilised fertilisers can negatively impact the environment

1) Ammonia is toxic to humans and animals in high concentrations, and is a key component of smog. Ammonia can be carried great distances by the wind; rain can then deposit it into natural ecosystems where it acts as a nitrogen fertiliser and has an undesired effect – some plants respond positively to this fertiliser, others are impaired.

2) Nitrous oxide is a potent Green House Gas (GHG) – Nitrous oxide is approximately 300 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide as a GHG, and leads to global warming.

3) Nitrates in water can be an issue for water companies as they need to meet guidelines as to the amount of nitrates that is allowed to be supplied in drinking water. Nitrates can also stimulate algal blooms in surface water; which when the algae die, results in oxygen depletion.

How can we help?

VIZURA®

Vizura® is a nitrogen stabiliser (classed as a nitrification inhibitor) that can be mixed with cattle/pig slurry or Anaerobic Digester Plant digestate; and can reduce the amounts of nitrates getting into water, and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.

This means that more nitrogen fertiliser remains in the soil around the roots of the crops for a longer period, giving the crops more chance to pick up the nitrogen from the slurry.

Trials have shown that on average Vizura® can reduce nitrate losses by 35%

Trials have also shown that on average Vizura® can reduce nitrous oxide emissions by 50%

BASF trials have shown that –

  • Winter wheat crop yields increase by 5% on average
  • Maize crop yield increase by 7% on average, and starch yields increase by 12%

Below are two photographs from a UK maize trial in 2017, using a colleague as a reference point.

LIMUS®

Limus® is a nitrogen stabiliser (classed as a urease inhibitor) that can be added to urea based artificial fertilisers and greatly reduces the amount of ammonia lost from the fertiliser application.

This means that more nitrogen gets into the soil where the crops’ roots are, and where it can be taken up to feed the crop.

Limus® can reduce ammonia losses from urea on average by 70% and by 48% from UAN.

Crops fed with urea + Limus® yield 5% more than if they were just fed with urea alone.

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