Identifying Options for Improving Fertilizer Nitrogen Performance
Fertilizer industry leaders, professional crop advisers, and their farmer customers are working more intentionally to improve fertilizer nitrogen (N) use efficiency and effectiveness, writes Dr. Cliff Snyder, Director, Nitrogen Program, International Plant Nutrition Insitiute (IPNI). Their goal is to use site-specific 4R (right source, rate, time, and place) N management practices, in concert with proven soil and water conservation practices, to get as much of the applied N into the crop as economically possible. Such complementary management actions increase the opportunities to raise crop yields and decrease crop yield gaps; while also helping to reduce the risks of residual nitrate-N buildup in the soil profile and helping to minimize losses of N to the environment via other major N loss pathways.
Many different factors affect fertilizer (and manure) N performance in various cropping systems, but it is quite important to recognize that many are under farmer management control; while many are not.
IPNI calls attention to a dozen examples of relatively recent (late 2016 to early 2017) science reports that are identifying and validating more of the options available to professional practitioners and farmers to improve fertilizer N performance; for increased crop yields while also protecting soil, water, and air resources.