New Fertiliser promising

 

Country Wide August 2015

Page 62

 

Country-Wide | Agronomy 2015

Nutrients | Fertiliser

 

 

A new, cost-effective solution to farmers’ nitrogen needs is yielding positive results in field trials.

 

The field research team recorded the effects of pasture production over five months with one application of Smartfert N compared to the same amount of nitrogen applied once as urea.

 

Smartfert N increased the nitrogen use efficiency by 5-53% depending on the site and rate of nitrogen applied.

The controlled-release fertiliser is being developed by environmental products company Eko360 and has undergone rigorous testing by independent soil scientist Dr Doug Edmeades.

 

Over the past three years under Edmeades’ guidance AgResearch has undertaken both laboratory and glasshouse tests to validate the fertiliser’s mode of nutrient release.

This work was followed by a number of field trials on pasture with results proving significant increases in production could be achieved for each kilogram of nitrogen applied using Smartfert N when compared to standard urea.

 

Eko360 managing director Bruce Smith said the outcome of the trials was exciting.

 

The results show Smartfert N’s nitrogen response happens over 100 days and the release curve is similar to the nitrogen demand curve of crops such as maize and other fodder crops.

 

Smartfert N technology encapsulates each prill of high-quality urea nitrogen with a thin biopolymer membrane. The soil moisture is absorbed through the membrane dissolving the prill and the nitrogen is released over time through the membrane.

The release mechanism controls the flow of nitrogen to the soil and the plants, minimising the chance of nitrogen loss through leaching and volatilisation.

 

This controlled release has a positive effect on the natural environment by reducing both leaching and the number of nitrogen applications needed.