Velcourt advances sustainable farming by boosting nitrogen efficiency
The UK-based arable operations company Velcourt is tackling sustainability challenges by improving nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) through the adoption of urease inhibitors. The initiative is designed to minimize environmental impact while maintaining high productivity levels, marking a significant shift towards more sustainable agricultural practices.
By integrating urea fertilizers treated with urease inhibitors into its operations, Velcourt is responding to both the results of its trials and the anticipation of regulatory shifts that will soon limit the use of traditional urea. The company’s average NUE currently stands at 55%, highlighting a significant variation in performance across its farms. The introduction of urease inhibitors like Limus aims to address this by reducing nitrogen loss, particularly under warm and windy conditions, which can lead to volatilization.
Limus, a product developed by BASF, plays a crucial role in Velcourt’s strategy due to its use of two urease inhibitors, NPPT and NBPT. These compounds have been shown to substantially lower ammonia emissions, presenting an environmentally friendly solution that does not compromise economic benefits. Trials on Velcourt farms have shown that Limus-treated urea matches or surpasses the effectiveness of ammonium nitrate, setting a new standard in fertilizer application.
Velcourt’s approach extends beyond the mere use of Limus, encompassing a comprehensive nutrient management strategy. This includes precise assessments of soil nitrogen supply, crop needs, application timing, and spreading techniques. Such measures ensure the efficient use of fertilizers, curtailing waste and mitigating environmental damage.
The company is also investigating innovative technologies, including remote sensing and alternative nitrogen treatments, to further refine its fertilizer utilization.