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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Using slow-release urea in maize

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Maize silage demands large amounts of nutrients and organic matter, and is highly responsive to nitrogen. Starter nitrogen fertiliser is essential - the cob yield is determined in the first few weeks after sowing. However, by flowering 70% of the nitrogen has been taken-up, and only 50% of its dry matter has been produced, meaning a second application is required.

A maize silage crop removes upwards of 200kg N/ha from soil; it is impracticable to load this much nitrogen upfront:

  • It has the potential to burn the seed.
  • Possible leaching during heavy rainfall periods.
  • Side dress applications may scorch the crop, damaging the plants.

We have recently imported a new slow-release urea: N-Control™75. This polymer-coated urea is designed to release a consistent amount of nitrogen over a 75-day period. Polymer coated urea is not significantly affected by soil pH, salinity, texture ,or microbial activity. Nitrogen release is determined by the permeability characteristics of the polymer coating, affected by temperature and moisture.

N-Control 75 is ideal for maize and eliminates the need for a side dressing because the release of nitrogen matches the plant uptake.

By applying a mix of urea (for immediate uptake) and N-Control 75 (for long-term supply), your crop should receive its nitrogen requirements for the entire season, while meeting the demand for optimum growth.

N-Control 75’s unique polymer coating limits nitrogen leaching in wet conditions by slowing down the transmission of nitrogen from the granule to the soil solution. By incorporating urea upfront you improve your nitrogen use efficiency and limit any losses through volatilisation allowing you to get the most out of your maize crop. It will also save you money - combining your upfront nitrogen requirements with the remainder of your base fertiliser needs, means you only have one application.

N-Control 75, while primarily used to grow maize, offers similar benefits in a variety of other crops. The general rule is, where a side dressing is traditionally used (e.g., fodder beet, brassicas, and cereals) N-Control 75 is another viable option.

If you’re interested in using N-Control 75, your Agri Manager can design a nitrogen programme tailored to your needs.

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