The dramatic increase in fertilizer prices prompted me to look for ways to save.
One of the methods we used was to switch to proprietary urea as a direct source of nitrogen on the farm.
Currently protected urea with sulfur costs €2.56/kg nitrogen while CAN with sulfur costs €3.26/kg N.
Based on my 2022 requirement for a pure nitrogen product, using proprietary urea at the above prices would result in a savings of €9,200 on operations.
On heavy soils in a wet season, protected urea may have fewer atmospheric losses while on light soils in a wet season it may have fewer leaching losses.
Both of these benefits result in higher nitrogen use efficiency and the potential for higher-yielding plants.
The main concern with proprietary urea was ensuring that it was distributed appropriately.
I ran a series of pan tests and made some adjustments to the fertilizer spreader to get an even spread.
Visually there was no difference in crop and the combine yield monitor showed no difference.
I’ve always used bulk fertilizer and as proprietary urea was only available in big bags this wasn’t as desirable. I also had to dispose of packaging waste in the form of single-use plastic.
This season, the transition to organic fertilizer—which has contributed 8 percent of total N, 24 percent phosphorus, and 29 percent of total potash used on the farm—along with use of protected areas (72 percent of total N) led to significant financial, environmental and sustainable benefits.
Next season I will be using pure phosphorus and potash as 18% soil is index 4 for phosphorus and 74% soil is index 4 for potash.
This allows the individual needs of the fields to be addressed while realizing significant savings.
The use of pure phosphorus and potash will also facilitate the use of proprietary urea as the sole chemical source of N used – allowing for further savings.
Don Somers farms in Oilgate, Co. Wexford
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/tillage/how-switching-to-protected-urea-and-organic-manures-is-bringing-big-savings-for-this-wexford-farmer-42169494.html How switching to proprietary urea and organic fertilizer is making big savings for this Wexford farmer