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Nitrification inhibitor value recognised

27 March 2008

Nitrification inhibitor value recognised

Ballance Agri-Nutrient’s nitrification inhibitor science is now recognised by the wider agricultural industry.

The value of applying nitrification inhibitors such as Ballance’s granular product, DCn, has been incorporated into the latest version of Overseer due for release, the fertiliser industry’s software program used to prepare nutrient budgets.

Ballance Head of Agro-Sciences, Warwick Catto, explains that this is good news for farmers who use nitrification inhibitors to reduce nitrate leaching, as it provides them with documentation of the remedial effect of using such products.

‘Many New Zealand farmers and environmentalists are now aware of the potential benefits of using nitrification inhibitors to reduce nitrate leaching and greenhouse gas emissions due to a high level of publicity surrounding greenhouse gas emissions and the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, and we are pleased that this is now documented in the Overseer program,’ says Mr Catto.

The integration of nitrification inhibitors into Overseer has also seen the industry reach another important milestone, recognising the equality and effectiveness of both granular and liquid forms of inhibitors.

‘Our scientific research has demonstrated that nitrification inhibitors are equally effective in both granular and liquid form, so choice of product and application ultimately comes down to each farmer’s personal preference,’ says Mr Catto.

Granular nitrification inhibitors offer the additional benefit of easy mixing with other fertilisers such as urea for the combined benefits of reducing spreading costs.

Trials conducted by AgResearch for Ballance have also shown that, on grazed farm systems, using nitrification inhibitors to reduce nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions results in typical increases in pasture production of up to 10 percent.

‘Of course, nitrification inhibitors were not developed solely as a tool for boosting pasture production. Their use also significantly reduces the environmental impact of gaseous and leaching losses of nitrogen, and their importance in this role is reflected in the fertiliser industry’s efforts to ensure that claims about product efficacy are backed by valid scientific research.’

Most nitrogen leaching occurs from May to September. Research indicates that on well-drained soils, for best results, DCn should be applied in April/May and July/August to cover the high-risk leaching period over winter and retain autumn nitrogen in the system. On wetter soils best results are achieved from two applications of DCn around March and May, or one application in April.

Farmers thinking about utilising DCn to reduce nitrate leaching should contact their local Ballance technical sales representative for further advice on 0800 222 090.


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