Nitrogen is the single most important nutrient, responsible for building protein and chlorophyll production.
Chlorophyll is the essential component to enable photosynthesis and therefore is seen as the key to yield.
Nitrogen is naturally present in the soil in an organic form but a large amount of this is unavailable to plants. It only becomes plant available after the process of mineralisation by soil micro-organisms. The CF Fertilisers N-Min test is a service which can help you quantify the supply of soil Nitrogen and by measuring Soil Mineral Nitrogen (SMN) and predict the Additional Available Nitrogen (AAN). AAN is an estimate of the organic Nitrogen contained in soil, this estimate in combination with a measure of SMN gives a Total Nitrogen reservoir measurement, which can be used to fine tune fertiliser N inputs.
For most farmers inorganic Nitrogen fertiliser, for example Nitram®, is the best way to ensure that a crop is supplied with all it requires. Nitram, which is an Ammonium Nitrate (AN) fertiliser, is an extremely efficient form of Directly Available Nitrogen and a Government study (project NT26), conducted in the early to mid 2000’s prove that:
Defra NT26 project
When applying Nitram the exact Nitrogen content is known (34.5% N) and therefore application rates are can be accurately calculated. Applying N at the economic optimum rate is the only way to ensure and maintain optimum yields and quality and importantly minimise losses to the environment.
In N response experiments Nitrogen remains the most responsive input that a farmer applies. Typically applications made at the optimum rate give economic returns in excess of six times the costs of application.
A typical Nitrogen response curve, shows how yield increases steeply at first in response to the Nitrogen applied, flattening out to a point where applying further Nitrogen has no economic return from producing extra yield. This is the economic optimum rate of Nitrogen producing the economic optimum yield.
Whilst further quantities of Nitrogen would increase yield to its maximum, the cost in terms of additional fertiliser applied as well as the increased risk of yield reductions from crop lodging and nitrate leaching with consequent environmental problems outweigh any additional benefit gained.
Applying Nitrogen at a level which achieves optimum yield is key in maximising efficiency and profitability. Alli Grundy- CF Fertilisers Agronomist.
Nitrogen remains the single most important nutrient typically giving economic returns in excess of five times the cost of application.
The drive for optimum efficiency
For optimum efficiency the theory is straightforward, but in practice it’s far from easy! There are costs associated with both under and over application so the target is to apply the economic optimum plus or minus 20kg/ha of N.
|Economics of Optimum Nitrogen Application|
|Units||Minus N Optimum||N Optimum||Plus N Optimum|
Accurately predicting Nitrogen requirements is uncertain because the economic optimum amount depends on a number of factors, some of which are outside your control.
So take the guess work out of calculating Nitrogen requirements and use the N-Min service to improve the performance of applied N fertiliser. N recommendations are accepted to be accurate within +/- 50kg N/ha of the optimum requirement.
Using N-Min and N-Calc to calculate N inputs improves that accuracy to +/- 30kg N/ha, resulting in improved financial returns and reduced losses to the wider environment. The Nitrogen Calculator is calibrated with the N-Min analysis and has been designed as an easy way to calculate N inputs. The N-Calc tool works calculates the N requirement of Cereals, Oilseeds and Maize and is annually reviewed and updated by ADAS.
Did you know?
In the last 7- 10 years only 15% of farmers have achieved target in Wheat growth and 25% achieved target protein*. With our N-Min service farmer Murray Brown achieved his protein target every year for the last 7 years!
*CPM Study April 2015
For more information or advice call our Crop Nutrition Team on +44(0)151 357 5758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org