Nutrition challenge confirms controlled-release fertiliser benefits

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Timac Agro claims the results from the 2023 ADAS Nutrition Challenge are proof of the benefits of controlled-release crop nutrition programmes, highlighting both efficiency and yield gains.

Benchmark plots in Norfolk and Yorkshire tested a range of spring nutrition products and practices, including RB209 recommended applications at rates of 220kgN/ha in Yorkshire and 160kgN/ha in Norfolk, and higher rate ADAS programmes at 286kgN/ha in Yorkshire and 222kgN/ha in Norfolk. The objective was to test to identify if new ways to maximise yield, while minimising input costs, could be found.

Timac Agro UK entered the challenge with a nutrition plan comprising a combination of phased-release N and phosphorus (P), using Sulfammo and TOP-PHOS.

In the Timac Agro UK trial plots, N was applied to winter wheat at a rate of 201kg/ha in Yorkshire and 141kgN/ha in Norfolk.

“Our Yorkshire trial achieved a yield of 10.21t/ha, which came in marginally above RB209 at 10.08t/ha but lower than the ADAS high-N program at 11.16t/ha,” says David Newton, technical manager at Timac Agro UK.

“Similarly in Norfolk, our trial achieved a higher yield than RB209 at 9.75t/ha compared to 9.51t/ha. However, in this scenario, the Timac Agro recommendation outperformed ADAS programme which came in at 8.41t/a.”

Mr Newton goes on to break down the N uptake and use efficiencies, with trends evident in both locations.

“In Yorkshire, ADAS YEN have assessed that our trial delivered 0.65 N uptake efficiency, outperforming RB209 at 0.61 and ADAS at 0.59. Similarly in Norfolk, they report that our plot achieved 0.67, whereas RB209 and ADAS came in lower at 0.58 and 0.42 respectively,” he says.

“The YEN team have measured that our Yorkshire scenario achieved a higher NUE of 33.75% compared to 30.96% for RB209 and 27.68% for ADAS. In Norfolk, the pattern continues for us coming out on top at 35.47% NUE, compared to RB209 at 31.93% and ADAS at 22.68%.”

He explains although yield differences are marginal in some instances, the overall results indicate applying high-quality, controlled-release N at a lower rate allows growers to at least maintain yield, while also reducing their carbon footprint.

“These results show the relative efficiency of N is superior when applying high-performing, gradual release fertilisers. For instance, in the Norfolk trial, applying 81kg less N than the ADAS recommendation resulted in a 13% higher yield,” says Mr Newton.

“Our controlled-release N and P technologies offer protection against pH related losses, and prevent volatilisation and leaching, all the while improving soil health year-after-year, so subsequent applications can be further reduced.”

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