Sustainable intensification of agricultural production
The rapidly increasing human population intensifies the global demand for food, feed, fiber and biofuel. In order to provide enough supply, agricultural productivity needs to be enhanced. However, further quantitative intensification of agriculture is not possible without drastically damaging the environment and biodiversity. Thus, the world requires urgently the new technological qualitative solutions.
Every farmer knows, that nitrogen is a critical element for plant development. At the same time, it is also very unstable, and more than half of applied nitrogen, depending on soil and weather conditions, may be lost to the environment. Which means that less than 50% is converted into harvest products, wasting the resource and resulting in eutrophication and acidification of pristine terrestrial and aquatic systems, contributing to global greenhouse gases and local elevated ozone concentrations. To address the triple challenge of food security, environmental degradation and climate change, agricultural production needs a sustainable intensification by improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency.
What is nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and why it matters? NUE shows the relation between the amount of the applied fertilizer to the amount of nitrogen taken away with the harvest. In other words, NUE is low when the output in harvested products is low and the input of N-fertilizer is high. Which means that large part of the applied nitrogen gets lost to environment instead of being used by plants, which leads to poor yields, damaged nature and waste of time, resources and profit.
How to improve NUE? There are many agronomic factors that influence the nutrient uptake by plants, fortunately the farmers can correct some conditions, using advanced fertilizing technologies, which allow to stimulate the growth and increase profit. Here are some tips for increasing NUE:
- Use high quality enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEF), like UTEC® to reduce N-losses via leaching, volatilization, denitrification
- Apply 4R-principles (right source, right rate, right time, right place) to ensure need-based plant nutrition, avoiding excess fertilization and applying modern application methods.
- Ensure good root development by improving soil structure, providing NH4+ nutrition and enhancing microbial activity
- Ensure good supply of all essential nutrients as well as sufficient space
- Enhance microbial activity and soil fertility
- Use modern varieties of crops, optimum crop density and balanced source-sink relationship (leaf to grain), irrigation management
- Ensure NH4+ nutrition with nitrification inhibiting products
The use of EEF products (UTEC® 46) allows to reduce the number of applications and reduce environmental impact, reaching better results in yields.