Agronomy Advice

Precision Agronomy: Our Way Forward

Over recent years, it’s become very clear that a change in approach is crucial. Input prices are high and look to remain that way for some time. The pressure put on farmers to reduce their impact on the environment is increasing with Government targets and suppliers needing to hit their own net zero commitments.

tractor in an open field
tractor in an open field

These challenges may just be viewed as problematic, but they can also present opportunities. In fact, there could be one solution for both problems.

Re-evaluating age-old farm practices

Fertilisers have been considered a bulk-buy, a commodity, something to maximise yields with limited consideration to its use efficiency. There is no doubt that fertiliser is still essential - in a world where less and less land is given over to the production of food, it’s crucial that we grow more on fewer acres. Fertiliser allows us to do that.

However, Yara has long supported a more precise use of fertiliser and with the higher prices of nutrients, this is no longer a luxury or fad, but the only way farmers will be able to operate at profit.

Agronomic advice based on rigorous trial work

Yara invests huge amounts of money, time and expertise in trial work to support farmers in using fertilisers in a more precise manner. This has the dual benefit of reducing input costs whilst also reducing nutrient waste to the atmosphere - reducing our impact on the environment.

Every year we undertake trials on wheat and barley crops exploring optimum nitrogen rates and nitrogen use efficiency. This advises farmers of the point at which spreading any more would start to deliver diminishing returns. We are also continually testing our precision nitrogen management tools like the Yara N-Tester which allows us to use more precise nitrogen management focusing on the nitrogen status of the crop at specific growth stages in the spring.

Accuracy and precision

There are so many tools available to farmers today to enable them to adopt a more precise approach to nutrient management from soil, leaf and manure analysis to modern spreader technologies, farm mapping software and sensors.

The key is to focus on what you can control, question existing processes and see if a more precise approach can be adopted. Reconsider ‘waste’ products such as manure to enhance the nutrient content of your soil, balancing this with a more accurate spreading of mineral fertilisers where needed. Measure, analyse and act on results - information is power! It may stop you from buying unnecessary inputs, or it may inform investment in a different input that will have a much better return.

As a responsible fertiliser producer, Yara freely provides agronomic advice and guidance based on trial work. Every claim we make can be backed up with trial data. Our aim is to provide you with the information you need to maximise your return on investment in terms of yield and quality produce whilst reducing your impact on the environment.