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Wheat School: Are EEFs the way to protecting nitrogen loss?

By: Kara Oosterhuis

August 5, 2022

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Can we improve yield parameters for farmers through enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs)?

That’s the question that Adam Fast, masters student at the University of Alberta, is looking to answer.

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Fast was at WheatStalk at Lethbridge, Alta., to discuss the projects he and the team are working on, and what results they have seen so far. The study is still in its early days, but so far, there are a few interesting findings in spring wheat.

“Urea is pretty tough to beat with the spring wheat — we are seeing in quite a few site years, increases in yield and protein with the use of a nitrification inhibitor,” he explains.

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When it comes to EEFs, there’s one important message Fast wants to drive home: no two years are the same, especially when it comes to moisture, so growers need to be cognizant of that when they are making their fertility plans.

“If you’re in the black soil zone and you get a lot of rain, you might be more prone to to denitrification loss in the soil zone,” says Fast. “Nitrification inhibitors would be your best bet to help preserve the nitrogen that you apply. But that could easily change. Especially like last year, where there was a drought basically across everywhere.

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“I think the variability in the future of the environments that we’re in, it just causes a grower to think, there’s got to be a way I can protect my nitrogen so that my plants get the most nitrogen that’s going to increase yield, protein, biomass, or whatever they are trying to achieve.”

What has been a bit surprising for the research team up to this point, says Fast, is that EEFs have been shown to preserve environmental health by reducing nitrogen loss, however, this doesn’t always translate to a yield increase.

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Learn more in the full conversation between Fast and RealAgriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis, below: