Farming in a low emissions environment

Farmers across Northern Ireland are continually striving for improvements in production and economic efficiency in order to remain financially viable. On top of this there is ever increasing demands placed on them to produce our food in an environmentally sustainable manner whilst at a low cost to the consumer. This pressure is unrelenting as the focus comes on the Methane, Ammonia and Nitrous oxide emissions that are resulting from the current production systems.

While research organisations locally and internationally busily work on further ways of reducing on-farm emissions, many farmers have already embraced new technologies to help them become more environmentally sustainable whilst maintaining production efficiency. One such technology is the use of the SustaiN protected urea fertiliser range. United Feeds first introduced farmers to SustaiN (formerly known as KaN) fertilisers in 2014 and since then use of this fertiliser range has consistently grown year on year, with many farmers using SustaiN exclusively on their farms.

SustaiN is a high-quality fertiliser made using top grade granular urea treated with Agrotain® urease inhibitor.  By stabilising urea hydrolysis, Agrotain® retains the nitrogen in the stable ammonium form to prevent volatilisation losses.  This ammonium can be taken up directly by the plant or converted to nitrate – the highly plant available form of nitrogen.  SustaiN is available as a 46% straight Nitrogen product as well as a 38% Nitrogen with Sulphur (17.5% SO3) added.  In addition, it is also supplied in a range of blends with Potassium and Sulphur. 

The environmental and performance benefits of Agrotain® have been proven locally and not just across hundreds of farms in recent years but also thanks to research work completed at AFBI where they reported an 84% reduction in Ammonia loss compared to Urea and 73% reduction in Nitrous oxide emissions compared to CAN whilst at the same time the trials confirmed that the product performed “at least as well as CAN” when it came to grass yields. This has consistently been witnessed on farm with farmers regularly commenting on improvements to the quantity and quality of the silage they are making with SustaiN grown grass. This improved silage quality has obvious knock on effects when it comes to the concentrate cost required to balance the diets of their herd or flock.

As time goes on, more scrutiny will be placed upon the way our food is produced from an environmental standpoint and more technologies like that used in SustaiN fertilisers will become ever more critical to our methods of farming. Many farmers who are already using SustaiN are somewhat ahead of potential legislation and farm practice change, while others have yet to reap the benefits.

For further details on which SustaiN fertiliser product would best suit your farm please contact your local United Feeds representative or call 028 9075 9000.

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