The Land

Good to go green with green urea

Good to go green with green urea
Good to go green with green urea

This is branded content for Incitec Pivot Fertilisers.

With growers battling a wet start to the summer cropping season, and facing ongoing challenges associated with La Nina weather conditions, opportunities for the application and incorporation of nitrogen (N) fertilisers may be limited, with increased application likely in-crop.

Where this is the case, growers should consider the benefits of Green Urea NV from Incitec Pivot Fertilisers (IPF).

Green Urea NV, which contains 46 per cent nitrogen, is coated with a urease inhibitor formulation using the active ingredient NBPT (N-(n-Butyl)-thiophosphoric triamide) to protect against losses associated with volatilisation.

NBPT inhibits the activity of the urease enzyme for up to 14 days which slows the conversion of urea to ammonium.

Volatilisation is the gaseous loss of nitrogen to the atmosphere that can occur if surface applied urea is not incorporated into the soil by rainfall or irrigation within 36-48 hours following application.

Up to 27 per cent* of the nitrogen in conventional urea can be lost to the atmosphere in unfavourable conditions being experienced by current summer crops.

IPF has developed a series of videos discussing the ammonia loss implications, conditions of losses and strategies to reduce or avoid losses.

Incitec Pivot Fertilisers Technical Agronomist Bede O'Mara said this allows time to incorporate the applied urea into the soil.

"To initiate the conversion of urea to ammonium, urea granules must start to dissolve, which requires adequate moisture," he said.

"As ammonium levels increase so does the production of ammonia gas. If ammonia gas is not trapped by the soil or crop canopy, it can be lost from the soil surface and blown offsite by wind.

"If nitrogen needs to be broadcast and volatilisation is a risk, Green Urea NV has a significant role to play in managing the risk."

Incitec Pivot Fertilisers Technical Agronomist Bede O'Mara. Picture supplied.
Incitec Pivot Fertilisers Technical Agronomist Bede O'Mara. Picture supplied.

Mr O'Mara said green Urea NV, if stored out of direct sunlight, will last up to two years.

"After 12 months the urease inhibitor will still provide reliable protection as 80 per cent of the coating will remain. This means you can buy, store and use when needed for the season."

Urea needs time to convert to plant-available nitrate, then move into the active root zone. If conditions are warm and wet the crops will be rapidly growing, and the demand for nitrogen will begin earlier.

"Therefore, nitrogen should be applied early in the season, making it available when the crop needs it. This is especially important if the soil-N level was low at planting and pre-plant applications were limited," Mr O'Mara said.

Using Green Urea NV allows growers to start their program of broadcast urea applications earlier than the current practice with untreated urea (which is 48 hours before an incorporation rain event). It will also allow growers to cover more ground before the rain arrives - which may be critical in a wet season with limited application opportunities.

"Green Urea NV allows time to review the impending forecasts, assess crop stage, soil moisture and lead times," Mr O'Mara said.

"As storm events in summer are less predictable with localised areas experiencing gusty wind conditions, all broadcast granular fertiliser applications may be adversely affected (especially swath width and coverage) by these such conditions."

IPF have developed a Green Urea NV ROI in Cropping calculator to assess potential nitrogen losses through volatilisation, investigate the impact on nitrogen management in a cropping situation, and demonstrate a potential return on investment that can be gained by upgrading urea to Green Urea NV.

For more information, find the Green Urea NV ROI in Cropping calculator and Agronomy Insight: Green Urea NV for Summer Crop 2022-23, on the Incitec Pivot Fertilisers website.

For advice about Green Urea NV or nitrogen strategies, contact Incitec Pivot Fertilisers Technical Agronomist Bede O'Mara on 0417 896 377 or email

®Green Urea NV is a registered trademark of Incitec Pivot Limited. Incitec Pivot Fertilisers is a registered trademark of Incitec Fertilisers Limited ABN 56 103 709 155. Incitec Pivot Fertilisers is a business of Incitec Pivot Limited ABN 42 004 080 264. ®Fertcare is a registered trademark of Australian Fertiliser Services Association, Inc.

* Schwenke GD, Manning W, Haigh BM (2014) Ammonia volatilisation from nitrogen fertilisers surface-applied to bare fallows, wheat crops and perennial-grass-based pastures on Vertosols. Soil Research 52(8), 805-821 & Schwenke, G (2021) "Nitrogen loss pathways. How much is lost when urea is not mechanically incorporated after application?". GRDC, Canberra.

About Incitec Pivot Fertilisers

Incitec Pivot Fertilisers (IPF) is a key supplier of quality fertilisers, plant nutrition and soil health solutions, helping Australian farmers maximise productivity for their crops and achieve sustainable plant nutrition outcomes for their soils and farms. The IPF team works closely with a network of local dealers, agronomists and advisors across the East Coast of Australia to support growers all year around. The NATA-accredited Nutrient Advantage Laboratory works together with agronomists and advisors to provide soil and plant analysis and decision support tools to drive efficient plant nutrition and to maximise soil potential.

This is branded content for Incitec Pivot Fertilisers.