Sentry Farms switches to AN

Ammonium Nitrate’s speed of uptake provides real benefits in difficult years, says Richard Peck, Sales and Development Manager for Sentry.

“Our business is all about precision. We have 16,300 hectares under cultivation, from Leicester across to Norfolk, down to Kent and as far west as Dorset.

“Every farm is different, and every client is different in terms of their objectives and requirements, so we create a bespoke package for each one.

“We focus on technical expertise to optimise agronomy, apply the latest husbandry techniques and harness market intelligence to manage risk, improve our decision making and maximise farm incomes.”

Margins have been very tight in agriculture for some time and there is no one single silver bullet solution, so we are continually looking to make small, incremental improvements in every aspect of our business.

“In the late 1990s we switched to urea (46%N) and Ammonium Sulphate (21%N-60SO3) because the price per kilogram of Nitrogen from those sources was significantly lower than for AN-based products.

“That more than offset urea’s limitations, namely volatilisation, inferior product quality and less consistent spreading.”

“We continually track input costs and AN had become much more competitive, so there were clear economic, agronomic and logistical arguments for changing back to these premium products.”

Two years ago, the decision was made to switch to Nitram (34.5%N) and DoubleTop (27N +30SO3), which are manufactured in the UK, he says.

 “When the market opened in the summer 2017 we purchased all our AN fertiliser requirement for 2017/2018.

“For me, it’s all about quality and Nitram and DoubleTop deliver exactly what you would expect from premium products.

“They are truly uniform, with no lumps or dust, the contents of every bag are the same and they spread consistently at up to 36m, whereas urea is limited to 24m.

“The fact that AN does not volatilise, gets into the soil more quickly and is taken up by the crop much more rapidly than urea is invaluable.”