N use efficiency and effectiveness are not the same

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

There is considerable interest in improving nutrient use efficiency given the economic, environmental and social challenges facing synthetic fertilizer use in intensive agriculture systems. Nutrient use efficiencies are generally calculated as ratios of nutrient inputs to outputs (crop yield per unit of nutrient applied).

click image to zoom Nutrient use efficiency is somewhat misunderstood. The relationships between nutrient rate, crop yield and nutrient use efficiency are illustrated in Figure 1. The highest nutrient use efficiency occurs at the lower parts of the yield response curve, where fertilizer inputs are lowest. When the soil fertility is low, any small amount of nutrient applied would give a large yield response. If nutrient use efficiency were the only goal, it would be achieved in the lower part of the yield curve. At lower use rates, fertilizers are not effective in achieving the desired food production levels. As you increase the rate, yields continue to increase, but at a slower rate, and nutrient use efficiency typically declines.

Currently, fertilizers are used in 40-60 percent of the world’s food production. By enhancing production, fertilizers spare millions of new acres from being converted to agriculture. The effectiveness of fertilizers in increasing crop yields and optimizing farmer profitability need not be sacrificed for the sake of improving nutrient use efficiency alone.

The 4R’s of nutrient practices, namely applying the right source at the right rate, at the right time, and at the right placement, is a tool that can influence the shape of this curve by reducing nutrient losses to the environment and helping to increase nutrient use efficiency. Nutrient use efficiency is also influenced by site specific soil and climatic factors.

Michigan State University Extension promotes the following for improving nutrient use efficiency while maintaining optimum crop yields:

  • Crop genetics and management practices assuring maximum economic yields.
  • Enhanced-efficiency fertilizer products using controlled-release technologies.
  • Precision agriculture technologies to sense crop needs and match nutrient availability.
  • Increased use of on-farm research evaluating nutrient use efficiency.
  • Decision support tools that apply science at the farm level.

Because fertilizers are made from non-renewable resources, pressure to increase their use efficiencies will remain. At the same time, efforts to increase effectiveness of fertilizers in terms of productivity and profitability to meet the global food demand needs should continue. Ideally, the goal is to achieve a balance between optimal nutrient use efficiency and optimal crop productivity.


Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left


Vertical Floor Blenders

Waconia floor blenders provide a quality blend fast, year-after-year. Blenders are mounted on (4) load cells that provide accuracy ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form