Economics of controlled urea fertilizer in cropping systems
Nitrogen fertilizers are chemical compounds given to plants to promote growth. However, their application can impact the environment through ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions, and through leaching which can lead to deterioration of water quality. To understand the nitrogen dynamics in the soil, a set of experiments were designed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientists with funding received from the Environmental Technology Assessment for Agriculture (ETAA) and GAPS programs of AAFC, and Agrium, a fertilizer company. Research trials were conducted to assess the impact of urea with comparison being made between ESN (environmentally sensitive nitrogen) and uncoated urea. Trials were conducted in five provinces and eight research sites. Harrow was the only eastern Canada site. Experiments also included several fertilizer application rates, and at least two tillage systems – conventional and reduced tillage. Zone tillage was also included at Harrow, Ontario. The general conclusion from the foregoing set of data and analyses is that ESN application is a better economic choice for certain crops in some regions, but not in all regions or for all crops. Even a single crop was not found to generate a positive producer surplus in all regions. Reasons for these differences need further investigation.
fertilizer use, environmentally sensitive urea
Soils and Crops Workshop