Agronomy Advice
June 07, 2019

Reducing carbon footprint from fertiliser

By: Natalie Wood

There is a lot more focus on industries today to reduce their environmental impact as much as possible. With more of a spot light being shone on agriculture for emissions and GHGs (Greenhouse gasses) then being able to calculate your carbon footprint as a farmer is increasingly relevant.

Reducing carbon footprint from fertiliser
Reducing carbon footprint from fertiliser

At Yara we developed catalyst technology which greatly (by up to 90%) reduces emissions of N2O (a GHG) from nitric acid production. Nitric acid is required in the process of manufacturing nitrate fertilisers, therefore greatly reducing the emissions from this process means that Yara’s nitrate containing fertiliser’s carbon footprint is also reduced by 40%.

Once the fertiliser gets on to farm however it is up to the user ensure that the carbon footprint continues to reduce through best farming practice

Once the fertiliser gets on to farm however it is up to the user ensure that the carbon footprint continues to reduce through best farming practice. The graph below shows how the carbon footprint of fertiliser can be reduced at both production and application through technology and best practice.

Carbon footprint of ammonium nitrate production and use

To get the most of the fertiliser at farm level you want to get the best Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) from the fertiliser that you can. This comes from product selection, timing, rate, weather conditions, crop demand, soil properties and more to ensure that the fertiliser you are applying gets to the desired location and is taken up by the crop. By ensuring all these factors are taken into account then another 10-30% carbon savings can be made by minimising losses through leaching or volatilisation.

Therefore, by product selection and best practice growers can reduce their carbon footprint by half when using Yara’s nitrate fertilisers.

When we calculate the carbon footprint of our products, we include all emissions with global warming potential related to their production; from production of raw materials and energy use to final product and storage at the production site. We apply industry standard methodology developed by Fertilizers Europe to calculate the footprint of each product at individual sites. Our calculations are regularly verified by an independent third party, DNV GL.

Yara Fertiliser Fertiliser Type Kg CO2e/kg product (max)
YaraBela Extran 33.5 33.5 AN (33.5%N) 1.25
YaraBela CAN 27 CAN (27%N)  1.04
YaraVera Urea 46 Urea (46%N) 1.52
Yara UAN 30 UAN (30%N) 1.06
YaraLiva CN 15.5 CN (15.5%N) 0.65
YaraMila NPK 15-15-15 NPK (15%) 0.80


We also work with the Cool Farm Alliance to enable growers globally to make more informed on-farm decisions that reduce their environmental impact. The alliance provides the Cool Farm Tool, which helps farmers to optimize their farming operations to reduce GHG emissions.