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Support to build winter feed with urea price drop

Support to build winter feed with urea price drop

As the dry summer conditions ease, a drop in urea prices by Ballance Agri-Nutrients will be welcomed by farmers looking to build up feed reserves to meet stock requirements over winter and early spring.

Ballance dropped the price of urea from $695 to $645 and SustaiN from $751 to $697 yesterday on the back of a slump in global prices for urea.

Ballance General Manager of Sales, Andrew Reid, says that the imbalance between supply and demand that put upward pressure on urea prices earlier this year has now reversed.

“Currently global supply is exceeding demand, which has resulted in international prices easing,” said Mr Reid.

“Once the rain starts to arrive in autumn, nitrogen applications can be really useful to build up feed before winter. We have acted quickly to reduce urea prices and pass on the benefits to customers during this important growing season.”

He cautioned farmers that longer-term international price volatility is expected to continue.

Ballance Science Manager Aaron Stafford advises that nitrogen applications, as n-rich urea, or SustaiN, are a cost effective method of providing feed to build up stock condition and carry them through the winter.

“Nitrogen will also encourage ryegrass tillering, so pastures can recover quickly from the summer and allow the build-up of the feed wedge needed to support stock in spring.”

To build up feed reserves:
· Apply 30-40 kgN/ha early in the autumn/winter, while the conditions are still suitable for a good pasture response.

· Use SustaiN if 5-10 mm rain is unlikely within 8 hours of application.

“The pasture response to autumn nitrogen applications is generally smaller and less predictable, with responses between 4:1 and 10:1, but applying nitrogen is a strategy which is still well worth considering as an economical method of building up winter feed reserves.

If you are thinking of using nitrogen, get it on early rather than later as this will ensure your pasture has the time, and the right conditions, to respond. Covers should be at least 1000 kgDM/ha (ideally they should be 1500 kgDM/ha), and soil temperatures greater than 7°C – your pasture needs to be actively growing, for a good response.”

Mr Stafford says farmers should consider using SustaiN if the conditions for applying urea are unfavourable, and there is the risk of nitrogen loss through ammonia volatilisation. Unfavourable conditions would include: less than 5-10mm rain within 8 hours of application; windy conditions with moist soils; and low pasture cover. SustaiN is a urea fertiliser which is coated with AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabiliser, a urease inhibitor that slows the conversion of urea to ammonium. This gives the urea time to move deeper into the soil before it converts to ammonium, reducing ammonia loss. New Zealand research has shown that ammonia volatilisation from SustaiN is around 50% lower than that from standard urea.


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