08-June-10 13:50 Age: 3 yrs
Kiwi Nitrogen Solution Validated in UK
A New Zealand developed solution to the nitrogen fertiliser issue has been validated in Newcastle University (UK) research.
The UK University replicated trial on Donaghys nitrogen fertiliser utilisation enhancer, LessN showed a significant increase of around 500 kg of dry matter per hectare of pasture from the application of LessN and urea, compared to urea treatments alone.
Donaghys Managing Director, Jeremy Silva says, “this successful research is a brilliant start to our move into exporting Donaghys biotechnology products, and further validates the success New Zealand farmers are having with this technology.”
The UK trial was conducted on very fertile ground and ran for the normal course of a nitrogen response trial. However, a striking aspect of the New Zealand based trials has been “the impressive nitrogen fertiliser responses over even a short period of time as nitrogen gets right into the leaf and the pasture is able to respond so effectively. Over several grazing rotations, we have seen these impressive responses maintained or increased”, said Silva.
Development of the technology associated with LessN started seven years ago. It was then launched in New Zealand two years ago after a significant number of laboratory and field tests.
Donaghys have made publicly available all 53 scientific pasture trials on LessN in New Zealand. Silva points out that the trials “have been carried out from Northland to Southland on a full range of soils from pumice, sand and peat through to clay soils under a range of conditions and seasons.”
Nitrogen is a major contributor to the environmental concern of greenhouse gases. The leaching of nitrate nitrogen from farm systems is also known to be related to the amount of nitrogen fertiliser applied.
Donaghys trial results have shown that New Zealand farmers are able to halve the amount of urea fertiliser applied but still maintain or increase production. “LessN can address the economic and environmental concerns of nitrogen fertiliser use and save farmers money” says Silva.
The Lincoln University carbon footprint calculator workings show that simply halving the amount of nitrogen fertiliser applied cuts 10-15% from a dairy farm’s total carbon footprint even though about half the footprint may be due to methane emissions.
Trialing has also been successful on Australian pastures and there is significant interest from other countries around the world. But Silva maintains, “Donaghys has been involved in New Zealand agriculture for 135 years and New Zealand is still our main focus for LessN on pastures.”