In today’s uncertain economy, you want to ensure every dollar you spend is used efficiently. If you’re like most farmers, one of the big input costs this year is your urea fertiliser. So how can you ensure that your urea is being used efficiently?
Urea fertiliser is a crucial source of nitrogen (N) for broadacre crops and provides the nutrition for robust and healthy plant growth and higher yield potential. However, urea is also a highly volatile fertiliser. If urea isn’t incorporated into the soil within 24-48 hours of application, a significant fraction of the fertiliser nitrogen may be lost to the atmosphere as ammonia gas. The risk of this loss is highest in conditions which are warm, wet and windy – i.e. our springtime – and a time when it’s also paramount to ensure we’re getting adequate nutrition to meet plant needs.
In previous years – when fertiliser bills weren’t the price of a small townhouse – the trade-off of lost nitrogen was insignificant. However, with current high prices – and the ever-testing climatic conditions – you may want to ensure you get every dollar’s worth of urea where it belongs. Not to mention, with decent grain prices, it is more important than ever to maximise the efficiency of our urea applied.
So, how can you prevent urea’s volatilisation and stop your dollars from evaporating into thin air? Well, this is where urea stabilisers can play a role.
How it works is that a coating is applied to urea granules containing urease inhibitors. Urease inhibitors prevent and slow down the urease enzyme from breaking down the urea. Thus, it helps increase the probability that urea is absorbed into the soil rather than volatilised into the atmosphere after a rain event. (Plus, you don’t have to wait until the day before a rain event to get out and spread).
Urea stabilisers aim to prevent Nitrogen loss to the atmosphere when minimal rainfall has fallen and, in some situations, also reduce nitrogen losses when waterlogging occurs.
With the majority of urea secured for the 2022 season it’s not too late to consider these products if your urea is still to be collected.
Most fertiliser companies have their own version of nitrogen stabilisers, which are added as a liquid coating prior to loading. If you’re interested in adding some to your urea, please get in touch with us for more information. Not all nitrogen stabilisers are necessarily equal, and will depend on the urea supplier as to which product they use and the costs associated.
Get in touch with one of our agronomists today.