Farmers can save 30% on Nitrogen fertiliser costs this spring by spreading urea instead of CAN, according to Teagasc’s George Ramsbottom.
“Urea costs 70c/kg unit of nitrogen, while CAN has a cost of €1/kg unit Nitrogen, and they both gave the same level of growth response.”
The dairy advisor spoke at a recent farm walk, where he said that more grassland farmers should use urea, as research has proven that it works every bit as well as the more expensive CAN fertiliser.
Additionally, Teagasc scientist Patrick Forrestal said that research trials show that there is very similar grass yield performance between urea and CAN fertilisers.
He highlighted recent research findings which suggest that urea can be used throughout the year rather than just in the spring.
“The traditional advice has been to use urea in the spring time.
The trial work showed no significant yield difference between CAN and urea when we used each throughout the year in side-by-side comparisons.
But he said that the levels of Nitrogen in the herbage is lower in crops fertilised with urea due to ammonia gas loss.
“The level of ammonia loss for an individual urea application is dependent on a range of environmental factors,” he said.
However, he highlights that this problem can be solved by using stabilised urea, which can reduce ammonia loss by 79% on average compared with untreated urea.
As a consequence this stabilised urea performed as well as CAN in terms of both yield and fertiliser N recovery.
Teagasc research also suggests that more urea usage on Irish farms may be beneficial from a costs perspective.
It says that CAN dominates the fertiliser Nitrogen market in Ireland, but global fertiliser consumption is dominated by urea.
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