Your farm’s productivity depends on nitrogen, whether it comes from organic or mineral sources. But the nitrogen cycle is leaky by nature, and some nitrogen is always lost. Nitrate-based fertilisers and precision farming are your best weapons against nitrogen loss and lack of efficiency.
Leaching occurs when mobile nitrate from the mineral nitrogen pool is washed out of the root zone by heavy rainfall. This is both inefficient and harmful to the environment. High concentrations of nitrates contribute to the eutrophication of watercourses, which can cause algae blooms to develop and deplete oxygen levels in the water.
Large amounts of unused nitrogen in the soil, well-drained soil and heavy rainfall are the main causes of leaching. Reducing the amount of fertiliser alone won’t necessarily reduce residual nitrogen, but it could drastically diminish your yield. The only solution is to ensure your nitrogen application is tailored to the needs of your crop.
For more information on specific issues check out these related articles.
Improving nitrogen fertiliser efficiency is one way your farm can become more productive, profitable and sustainable. Try our quiz to find out how you can improve your farm's nitrogen fertiliser efficiency.
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