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SPONSORED CONTENT: Broadcasting or shallow-band urea applications without nitrogen loss

Canadian growers are under increasing pressure to operate efficiently with the profound change in farming today. Larger operations with more acreage to cover, the pressure of lower crop prices and higher input costs, and demands for environmental efficiency mean every dollar and agronomic practice must be used as effectively as possible.

January 20, 2017  By Koch Agronomic Services LLC

Against this backdrop, growers may feel compelled to hurry when applying fertilizer and planting.

They use farming practices such as no-till or reduced till combined with nitrogen application to help improve seeding efficiency. While faster, these practices reduce the amount of tillage and decrease banding depth, and are far different than historical recommendations to band fertilizer about two inches below seeding depth or three to five inches below the soil surface before packing.

Recent research on shallow-banded nitrogen application indicates the practice may not be as agronomically sound as once thought. Concentrated shallow bands (less than two inches deep before packing) of urea or UAN may have higher volatilization loss than broadcast or surface-band applications, while shallow tillage of less than three inches may be insufficient to protect nitrogen loss from urea.


Studies show that band and tillage depth are very important in reducing nitrogen loss. In central and eastern Canada, the nitrogen loss process was accelerated in subsurface bands of urea or UAN.

However, Philipe Rochette, with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, found that across soil types, a total urea volatilization loss of 50 percent was reduced by approximately 17 percent for every inch of depth of banding, making losses at depths greater than three inches negligible.

In addition, preliminary results from studies coordinated by Rigas Karamanos, senior agronomist at Koch Agronomic Services (KAS), found canola produced approximately four to five bushels per acre less when urea was shallow-banded (less than 1.5 inches) or broadcast without incorporation, when compared to urea banded two to three inches deep.*

Adding AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabilizer from KAS helped reduce volatilization loss from urea and UAN. In fact, adding AGROTAIN® to broadcast or shallow-banded urea produced the same yields as deep-banded, untreated urea.

Growers may also consider broadcasting urea in late winter or early spring, an operationally efficient means of applying nitrogen. However, broadcasting untreated urea is inefficient from a nitrogen management perspective because the nitrogen is prone to loss.

Broadcasting SUPERU® fertilizer changes the equation. Containing both a urease and a nitrification inhibitor, SUPERU® fertilizer protects the nitrogen against all three forms of loss: ammonia volatilization, nitrate leaching and denitrification. Additionally, SUPERU® fertilizer maintains a higher level of ammonium nitrogen in the soil for a longer period of time, reducing the potential for leaching and denitrification and optimizing yield potential.

Efficiency is key to successful farming today. Using fertilizers that minimize nitrogen loss is a sound agronomic practice that also boosts efficiency.

For more on preventing nitrogen loss, please visit

Neither the individual researcher referred to, nor their respective universities, endorse the products mentioned herein.

AGROTAIN® and SUPERU® are registered trademarks of Koch Agronomic Services, LLC. © 2017 Koch Agronomic Services, LLC.

*Data on file.


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