Reduced N in no till

Banana Bar

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Bury St Edmunds
It is widely reported and accepted that nitrogen fertiliser is damaging to soil biology. It is suggested that long term no tillers are reducing their N use ( I’ve been told of one estate now growing wheat with 100kg N where recently they were using 200 kg). Have any long term no tillers seen this?



BB
 

Badshot

Member
Location
Kent
I've not been doing it long enough by a long shot.
Definitely haven't reduced any fert inputs yet.
Getting less on the herbs by getting on top of BG to an extent.
 

Cutlerstom

Member
Arable Farmer
Something I'm hoping to explore using Hutchinsons Helix project here. We are going to be looking at increasing N efficiency, and thereby reducing N application overall. But that isn't really to do with long term no till per se, just replacing some soil applied N with foliar applied products. I think Sayed Shah at Niab had done a good trial using a BFS product, and maintained the same yield using 100kgs N as the rest of the plots did using 200kgs. Certainly Dr Christine Jones theory if you were on the Oakbank webinar last night, would be that with the right balance of biology in the soil you would be making far better use of naturally available N. But would be good to see some examples, like you say! Tim Parton? Simon Cowell?
 

EddieB

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Staffs
I’m interested in this too. Do crops need more nitrogen early in the formative years of a DD system due to less mineralisation and the N requirement for breaking down surface residue? I’m very new to this, there’s so much to find out.
 
It is widely reported and accepted that nitrogen fertiliser is damaging to soil biology. It is suggested that long term no tillers are reducing their N use ( I’ve been told of one estate now growing wheat with 100kg N where recently they were using 200 kg). Have any long term no tillers seen this?



BB
depends if you are removing all the straw or retaining all your residue, growing cover crops or not, what type of crop rotation you have, including legumes etc etc
 

Brisel

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North Yorkshire
I’m interested in this too. Do crops need more nitrogen early in the formative years of a DD system due to less mineralisation and the N requirement for breaking down surface residue? I’m very new to this, there’s so much to find out.
Tony Reynolds recommended upping seed rates & N rates in the first few years of no till to compensate for poorer tillering. I don't know what he's doing now but he wasn't using cover crops back then & was mostly winter cropping anyway on 2 cereals then a break crop.

I haven't read the FW article on CULTAN but this was supposed to be a little and often dosing regime that wouldn't give the kind of shocks that 100 kg/ha N as AN or urea in one dose does.
 

robs1

Member
I’m interested in this too. Do crops need more nitrogen early in the formative years of a DD system due to less mineralisation and the N requirement for breaking down surface residue? I’m very new to this, there’s so much to find out.
Earlier N is a good idea imvho, a little urea as early as possible here, put 62 kg/ha on sat before frost went should see it through to early /mid march ,
 
Sequestring 1 t/ha Carbon need 92 kg N/ha.
This is why No-till in my opinion need much more N (could for some part come from legume cover crops)
Still waiting for real sceintific results showing that fertilizer is not needed while buttom line is the same or better.
Many snake-oil sellers is on the world wide web..........
 

Simon C

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Essex Coast
Sequestring 1 t/ha Carbon need 92 kg N/ha.
This is why No-till in my opinion need much more N (could for some part come from legume cover crops)
Still waiting for real sceintific results showing that fertilizer is not needed while buttom line is the same or better.
Many snake-oil sellers is on the world wide web..........
Exactly Soren, but if we add 92 kg N to our normal rate for the crop to achieve maximum yield, we then move into burning up organic matter and not sequestering any carbon at all. Just have very poor nitrogen use efficiency.
 
In this country DK have we lost >3 tons CO2/ha/y on the best soils during nitrogen restirctions for 25 years where it ended with 137 kg N/ha for winter wheat after OSR!! Nobody would buy danish wheat. Pig producers bought German wheat while danish wheat was for feeding goats or camels!
So too little N created low yields with low protein and low carbon in the soil
And now some preachers has created a paradigm that this is the way forward.
Sorry - I would like to see more proof for this theory. Tillage is burning carbon, not nitrogen.
 
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What sort of crop rotations do you have in Denmark ? Many legume crops or green manure ? Or is it just cereals following cereals ?
Generally too little rotation. Pig producers are generally very conservative with tillage and have focus on WW to get most feed for the pigs. But regulations demanding 14% of rotation area with cover crops force to more spring crops. And now is there even higher demands demands for cover crops in some areas with up to 40-50% of rotation area with CC!
This is because of the never ending political focus on reducing N leaching. Neighbor country Sweden just on the other side of the same Belt only focus on P!
Among arable farmers there are much grass seed production, OSR every 4-5 year and more beans are coming in. In south there are Sugar beat production and in the sandy soils in Jutland in the west there are potato production in large scales (so No-till / CA is not really possible in these areas!).
Diary farmers focus on corn production and a lot of success in min-till/strip till now, but not no-till.
 

Secret Agronomist

Member
Arable Farmer
In this country DK have we lost >3 tons CO2/ha/y on the best soils during nitrogen restirctions for 25 years where it ended with 137 kg N/ha for winter wheat after OSR!! Nobody would buy danish wheat. Pig producers bought German wheat while danish wheat was for feeding goats or camels!
So too little N created low yields with low protein and low carbon in the soil
And now some preachers has created a paradigm that this is the way forward.
Sorry - I would like to see more proof for this theory. Tillage is burning carbon, not nitrogen.
Do you have any links to that data, would be good ammo to have
 

Warnesworth

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Chipping Norton
Does N affect SOM? I think it does - read this and its associated links.
But I think cultivation affects SOM to a greater extent, which is something many people won't consider here.
I do appreciate that research can prove or disprove anything, it just depends what you want to believe. But you cannot undo what your eyes see and tell you everyday, and for me there's no doubt.

I think you can reduce N fertiliser inputs over time with a CA system. We certainly encourage customers to do this, dependant upon yield expectations and previous N use. But it must be stressed that it's part of a total package of advice, not in isolation.

For me I don't think we'll ever get away from using N if we want to retain our current yield levels, we'll just have to get cleverer at using it to maximum effect. At present I am much more focused on understanding the N fluxes within the soil and trying to work with them as best I can.
 

E_B

Member
Location
Norfolk
Will try a tramline trial this year of reduced N on wheat after beans after two year ley, albeit it only IRG.

Working on a rotation of grass, grass, beans, wheat, oats, wheat on medium and heavy land. Combination of strip till and no till. I assume adding legumes to the grass will lead to negative consequences for the beans, and potentially for the C N ratio?
 

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
It is widely reported and accepted that nitrogen fertiliser is damaging to soil biology. It is suggested that long term no tillers are reducing their N use ( I’ve been told of one estate now growing wheat with 100kg N where recently they were using 200 kg). Have any long term no tillers seen this?



BB

To be honest I used more N in the early years while C:N stabalised

I would be very cautious about cutting N in the early years, lots of potential to do so as system evolves however
 

Chalky

Member
Sequestring 1 t/ha Carbon need 92 kg N/ha.
This is why No-till in my opinion need much more N (could for some part come from legume cover crops)
Still waiting for real sceintific results showing that fertilizer is not needed while buttom line is the same or better.
Many snake-oil sellers is on the world wide web..........
In this country DK have we lost >3 tons CO2/ha/y on the best soils during nitrogen restirctions for 25 years where it ended with 137 kg N/ha for winter wheat after OSR!! Nobody would buy danish wheat. Pig producers bought German wheat while danish wheat was for feeding goats or camels!
So too little N created low yields with low protein and low carbon in the soil
And now some preachers has created a paradigm that this is the way forward.
Sorry - I would like to see more proof for this theory. Tillage is burning carbon, not nitrogen.
It is interesting that bodies in Denmark appear to have analysed the long term results from enacted legislation.

Makes perfect sense that to sequester C takes nutrient. No nutrient, little biomass produced, little cellulose therefore less C. I too would be interested to see the source of the figures as we are here may be pushed similarly only to fail dismally when viewed some time in the future when judged upon our efforts.
 

Charles Quick

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Somerset
Do N bugs in jugs work or are they snake oil to?
Been trying gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus this year, adding 5g/ha with 1kg molasses with every spray. The bacteria was originally isolated from sugar cane and the idea is that it can live endophytically inside the plant and fix N from within. Costs me 25p/ha per application, for approx 5x10^9 CFU/ha
No visible differences yet..
 
Found thesein english about nitrogen and protein levels in wheat in Denmark:

 

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