Enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEF) can play a major role in helping to ensure your on-farm practices are both profitable and sustainable.
EEFs help reduce nitrogen loss through volatilization or denitrification and limit the amount lost between application and crop uptake. This means it works within the 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework, which is a key component of Grown with Purpose.
Grown with Purpose is a results-driven agronomic program delivered by the Co-op Grow Team. With our boots on the ground, we take a deep dive into your operation to build a blueprint for a thriving farm business – one that improves productivity today while promoting a healthy environment for tomorrow.
4R Nutrient Stewardship refers to the right source of fertilizer applied at the right rate, right time and right place. Your local Grow Team member can evaluate your on-farm practices to see if you are meeting the requirements.
EEFs and 4R
EEFs fit into 4R Nutrient Stewardship in a few ways:
- Research on the Canadian Prairies shows that you can lose two to five pounds of nitrogen per acre per day to denitrification in warm, saturated soils. If the source is not ideal, EEFs can help.
- Applying fertilizer at the right time to minimize losses in a compressed fertilizer season is tough. If the timing is not ideal, EEFs can help.
- If urea or UAN is inadequately incorporated, ammonia volatilization losses can reach 40 per cent. If placement is not ideal, EEFs can help.
When you are heading into fall, using an EEF can ensure your nitrogen fertilizer stays where you need it. With fewer nitrogen losses, your fertilizer investment is ready and available to your crops come spring.
The Main Types of EEFs
Urease Inhibitors (NBPT)
Urease inhibitors, such as Nitrolizer or Agrotain® Ultra, reduce volatilization losses to the air, protecting your nitrogen from above-ground losses. Urease inhibitors work best when used with spring-broadcast or shallow-banded urea or UAN.
Nitrification Inhibitors (DCD)
Nitrification inhibitors, like Nitrolizer Dart, reduce denitrification and leaching losses, both of which are below-ground losses. These inhibitors protect banded nitrogen fertilizers from soils that are wet or become waterlogged as well as soils that are prone to leaching. They can be applied in spring or fall.
Combination Products with NBPT and DCD
Combination products, such as Nitrolizer Duo or Agrotain® Plus, protect against above- and below-ground losses. The most common products in this segment are a combination of NBPT and DCD. They can be used to protect against all types of nitrogen loss, whether your fertilizer is broadcast or banded, in the spring or fall.
Polymer-coated urea, most commonly known as ESN, helps to protect against all nitrogen losses. When exposed to moisture, the polymer coating allows water to enter the granule, creating a nitrogen solution that releases slowly over time. Coated products are best suited for a banding application because soil contact along with appropriate temperature and moisture is necessary for the nitrogen to be released. Apply this product in the spring.
- MORE: Ask Co-op: Agriculture
Ready to incorporate an EEF into your operation? Talk to your local Grow Team member about Grown with Purpose and the best solution for your farm.