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Cotton growers turn to liquid fertilizer solutions for in-crop nitrogen applications

Published by , Deputy Editor
World Fertilizer,

A Moree-based fleet of 300 liquid fertilizer tanks is busy servicing cotton growers across northern NSW and southern QLD as they increasingly turn to liquid nutrient solutions for in-crop nitrogen applications.

Seeking an efficient fertilizer solution that is readily available to the cotton plant and minimises waste, growers are taking the opportunity to hire 24 000 litre liquid storage tanks and have them delivered on farm ready for use.

Managing 4300 ha. of irrigated cotton at Garah, north west of Moree, Allan Moore has been using liquids for in crop nitrogen applications for eight years.

“For our cotton nutrition programmes, it all comes down to kilograms of nitrogen to achieve the best yields we can,” Mr Moore said.

“We typically run a third of our nitrogen requirements up front, then aim to incorporate another third with urea before watering starts, then we water-run the final third with liquid N26.”

For Moore, the on-demand nature of the EASY Liquids N26 fertilizer is of benefit once irrigation starts and windows to spread urea on dry ground are limited.

“You can’t apply urea to wet ground, so once you’re in late December or January and working with only a seven- or eight-day turnaround between water runs, it’s very difficult to schedule and coordinate urea application,” Moore said.

“That’s where N26 is handy. The tank is there ready to go and all you have to do is turn on the tap.”

“Any nitrogen not taken up by the plant stays in the water, and that eventually comes back around with that water.”

Moree’s EASY Liquids Territory Manager, Matt Urquhart, said growers were also drawn to the ability to get nitrogen into their cotton plants quickly.

“The key differentiator with a liquid product like N26 is that the nitrogen is readily available to the plant,” Mr Urquhart said.

“Unlike urea which has to hydrolyse and break down, N26 is ready to go and the quick uptake by the plant means there’s little left at the end of each run, so there is less wastage.”

“Tanks are delivered to the head ditch, so all the grower has to do is set the rate and turn on the tap. This reduces manual handling and avoids having to drag a bin around spreading urea.”

Liquid fertilizers are becoming increasingly popular among growers who are looking to boost the accuracy, efficiency and flexibility of their nutrient programmes.

Since Incitec Pivot purchased Yara Nipro’s Australian liquid fertilizer business in October 2022, the Moree business has grown to a team of eight experienced, local staff who understand the crops, growth habits and changing requirements of growers in the area.

“As growers and agronomists are increasingly looking to capitalise on the significant productivity and sustainability benefits of liquid fertilisers, it’s exciting to be growing our footprint,” Urquhart said.

“Servicing the broader Gwydir region with a range of liquid plant nutrition products that are easy to use, control and handle, we’re finding that once growers make the switch to a liquid product, they rarely go back.”

“Because they are 100% water soluble, the accuracy and uniformity of application they can achieve with liquid fertilisers is excellent.”

Incitec Pivot’s acquisition of Yara operations in Moree and Whitton in New South Wales, and Boundary Bend in Victoria delivers excellent liquid fertiliser options to growers across the east coast of Australia.

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