The UK’ governments commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses from agriculture has created debate about the use of urea in UK agriculture. Although the principle is admiral the issue over the last 6 months has for many famers been the lower cost of urea compared to the very high price for ammonium nitrate.
It appears, although it is not yet a fact, that the use of urease inhibitors with solid urea and liquid UAN(1) fertilisers between 1 April and 14 January each year is very likely to be mandatory and enforceable from 1st April 2024.
Inhibitors for liquid fertiliser may be purchased separately and added to the spray tank at the time of application. It is worth remembering, they are not a silver bullet for reducing emissions being only partially effective. Products do vary in their efficacy as well as under different conditions of use.
As far as granular products are concerned inhibitors are applied “at the time of purchase.”
I mention this now since some may shortly consider the purchase of nitrogen for the 23/24 crop year.
Again please note with all the statements relating to regulation, they are as of today, not finalised however, after the 1st April 2024, the use of uninhibited urea or UAN will ONLY be allowed between the 15th January and the 31st March each year.
To get the best from your urea based fertiliser application the following points are always worth bearing in mind.
If broadcasting urea or UAN do so when the soil surface is wet or if significant rainfall is expected imminently.
Don’t apply urea or UAN, to moisture-limited or rapidly-drying soils.
Sandy soils, and shallow soils over chalk or limestone, are at higher risk of gaseous loss than high clay or organic soils.
Where sensible and practical to do so, incorporate urea and UAN fertilisers into the soil.
Application to bare soil is likely to be a higher risk than applying to an established crop. (Application to a dry spring barley seed bed is a higher risk situation than to winter wheat at stem extension.)
Consider the use of ammonium nitrate fertilisers as an alternative!
(1) Urea Ammonium Nitrate (UAN) solution, produced by combining urea, nitric acid, and ammonia, is a liquid fertiliser product with a nitrogen content that typically ranges from 28 percent to 32 percent. UAN can be applied more uniformly than non-liquid forms of fertiliser.