“In crop” nitrogen management is one of the most critical aspects of regenerative agriculture and one of the easiest to improve upon.
The aim is to reduce the total nitrogen use, and still supply the crop with enough nitrogen to reach full yield potential.
Broadcast urea is extremely susceptible to volatilisation, antagonisms, leaching as well as causing biological imbalance and mineral dilution.
A better alternative to broadcasting Urea nitrogen application, is an application of foliar nitrogen mixed with balanced nutrition and bio-stimulants.
Foliar nutrition provides an increase in uptake efficiency, maintains nutrient density and optimum plant sugars, along with increasing root exudates. This further stimulates biology and increases mineral availability, all for no additional cost.
By applying urea in a dissolved format or UAN with a small amount of carbon, bio stimulants, living biology and a balanced blend of the other essential elements, the quantity of N can be cut to approximately one third the rate. This still gives the plant the same amount of nitrogen, as a soil applied method, but with all of the above benefits.
As a general rule of thumb for people looking at starting the regenerative road or those heading down it but still unsure, the following formula will give you a conversion from what you would have typically done with spreading urea, to what you might consider as a foliar.
10kg/Ha of nitrogen (22kg/Ha dissolved urea or 24L/Ha of UAN) is a good maximum number for a single spray, when foliar spraying nitrogen.
If the number in the calculation comes out above 10kg/Ha of N it is advised you split all inputs and make two applications 7 days apart (If needed due to time restraints or weather, rates up to 20kg/ha can be applied in a single application.
Small rates more frequently are always the most fertiliser efficient and bio friendly method.
Costed example of how Regenerative farmers are making savings and improving Nitrogen Efficiency
Here’s a guide to converting your Broadcast Urea to a balanced foliar nutrition program;
100kg Broadcast Urea converts to:
Other regenerative foliar options customised to your farm and tissue / soil tests (if available) can be provided where UAN and LawrieCo Brewed MicroLife are options to simplify your transition to Regenerative Ag.
Please contact LawrieCo for a crop specific recommendation.
Greater returns on nutrient investment with foliar applied urea
DPI Horsham Vic Fert Trial - Flagship Barley
As part of Horsham DPI’s fertiliser trial in 2010, 23kg/Ha of dissolved urea was applied as a foliar spray with LawrieCo Bio Fertilisers and compared against 80Kg/Ha of Broadcast urea. The treatment not only out preformed the broadcast urea in yield but returned a higher return on investment. For further details please see the trial overview here:
Links to product information: