Expert says urea can be used any day of the year, but it needs rain
Urea can be used on Irish farms throughout the year, according to Grassland Agro’s Dr Stan Lalor, provided it gets rain within 48-72 hours after spreading.
The Grassland Agro Head of Speciality said that there is potential to use more urea on Irish farms at a recent Teagasc Green Acres farm walk in Co. Laois.
He told the 300 strong crowd in attendance that urea tends to be vilified and many farmers are afraid to use it outside of January and February.
But, he said that research carried out in Teagasc Johnstown Castle has proven that is can be used throughout the graze growing season.
Lalor also said there is a cost difference between urea and Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) and as a result it makes economical sense to spread urea instead of CAN.
It is a good idea for farmers to have a pallet of CAN and urea in the yard to use during the summer months, if there is rain forecast use urea, if not use CAN.
According to Teagasc, farmers can make a 30% saving from using urea instead of CAN, as 1kg of N from urea costs 70c/kg, while 1kg of N from CAN costs €1/kg.
However, Lalor said that there are some risks associated with spreading urea throughout the year, particularly in periods of prolonged dry weather.
He said that urea is not as effective during warm weather, as it needs water to function, but he said there should be no problems with spreading urea any time of the year, provided there is rain forecast with in 48-72 hours.
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Can urea be used throughout the year?
Research trials carried out in Teagasc Johnstown Castle show that there is very similar grass yield performance between urea and CAN fertilisers.
Recent findings from the Teagasc research centre suggests that urea can be used throughout the year rather than just in the spring.
The trial work showed no significant yield difference between CAN and urea when they were used in side-by-side comparisons
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.