Autumn 2023

Research shows new key to maximising liquid fertiliser sustainability

Contracted research by Verdesian as well as Agrii Technology Centres and iFarms has highlighted marked increases in Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE) from the stabiliser’s unique combination of urease and nitrification inhibitors. These have led to valuable improvements in crop yield and quality as well as machinery and labour use, and – every bit as importantly – environmental impact.

“The key challenge in farming today has to be to get more from less,” stresses Agrii nutrition technical manager, Tom Land. “Especially so with the imperative of reducing the carbon footprint of our production. We can only do this by understanding the science behind key elements of crop management and applying it in the most effective ways.

“We have been working with the nitrogen stabilising technology of the Liqui-Safe added to our Agrii-Start fertiliser range this season in a sister product (Enhance) for more than ten years now. Replicated trials across a wide range of crops highlighted its value in both increasing the Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) of urea fertilisation – measured in higher yields and milling wheat N contents – and in enabling the number of passes to be manipulated.”

“Our long experience with Enhance, and hundreds of results from manufacturer trials – including more than 40 in the UK and Ireland – gave us confidence in the product’s crop and environmental improvement abilities from the outset.

Agrii trials found no difference between wheat performance from standard three application farm regimes and those applying all the N with Liqui-Safe in a single early season pass in either 2018 or 2019.

The results were even more impressive in replicated Agrii field trials with Skyfall in last season’s very dry spring and early summer. Here, there was no discernible yield difference between the same 200 kg/ha of nitrogen balanced with sulphur applied in a standard late-March, early April and mid-May programme without Liqui-Safe and at just the first and third timings with it.

However, applying all the nitrogen with the stabiliser at the first timing alone raised yields by over 9% from an average of 10.8 t/ha to 11.8 t/ha. This gave a margin over input costs of more than £110/ha before accounting for any savings in machinery and labour costs.

“All the evidence shows that Liqui-Safe offers really valuable economic and environmental sustainability benefits for liquid fertiliser users,” Mr Land concludes.