The first cargo into the UK of the world’s most advanced stabilised nitrogen fertiliser has been unloaded at Immingham.
The 3,200t shipment of Alzon neo-N was imported by Gleadell Agriculture. It was manufactured by SKW Piesteritz, Germany’s largest producer of ammonia and urea and a specialist manufacturer of stabilised urea products.
The cargo, unloaded on Friday (27 October), is the first of five booked to the end of January to meet rising demand for stabilised urea in the UK.
Growers are turning to the product to cut rising losses to the environment and improve fertilisation efficiency, says Gleadell fertiliser manager Calum Findlay.
“Alzon neo-N, a granular 46% N urea fertiliser, is the world’s first integrated all-weather fertiliser. It takes stabilisation technology to a new level, containing two inhibitors to reduce both ammonium and nitrate losses.”
These losses are an increasing problem, driven by increasing temperatures and moisture extremes during the growing season, says Mr Findlay.
“Trials have shown have shown Alzon neo-N’s integrated inhibitor system can reduce nitrate leaching by up to 50% and nitrous oxide emissions by up to 75%, and prevent ammonia losses almost completely.”
As with some other existing stabilised urea products, Alzon neo-N contains a urease inhibitor, which slows down the conversion of urea to ammonium reducing the risk of losses by volatilisation.
It also contains a nitrification inhibitor that reduces the rate at which ammonium is converted to highly mobile nitrate, which is prone to leaching or being lost to the atmosphere.
“This combination ensures a higher proportion of nitrogen is taken up by the plant, which is good for the pocket as well as the environment,” says Mr Findlay.
The UK has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which will continue to be in place a long time after the UK has left the EU, he adds.
“Under the EU’s National Emissions Ceiling Directive, updated in December 2016, the UK has signed up to reducing five key pollutants, including ammonia.
“Detailed within this, the Air Pollution Action Plan, due to be published in 2019, will include an ammonia code, which will contain advice on how farmers can reduce emissions.
“Although voluntary, it will be important that high levels of take-up are seen to help the UK to meet its commitments, otherwise regulation may result.”
In Germany, legislation is already agreed. From 2020 farmers must either inject urea-based fertilisers or use ones that include an inhibitor to reduce ammonia emissions, says Mr Findlay.
Manufacture of Alzon neo-N began in early summer. Sales have and will remain mainly focused on Germany, but Gleadell is one of a small number of selected partners in a few other countries where Alzon neo-N will be marketed.