2 November 2001

Nitrogen use increase

BRITAINS farmers applied 8kg/ha (6.5 units/acre) more nitrogen to field crops in 2000 than in 1999, says the Fertiliser Manufacturers Association.

But the amount was still 5% down on the levels of the mid-1980s, and phosphate and potash use was at its lowest since 1983.

Despite the upturn in N given to crops, cereal yield increases suggest applications are being used more efficiently, says FMA president Bill Tooley.

The low P and K use recorded in the latest annual survey seems mainly the result of a cut in cereal area receiving fertiliser, rather than lower rates per dressing, adds Mr Tooley.

"This suggests farmers are responding to financial pressures by omitting applications and hoping that soil reserves will be adequate."

The survey shows sulphur use remained static on cereals and oilseed rape. &#42