In his latest blog, NFU crops board chairman Matt Culley takes a look at the use of nitrogen within wheat rotations and the growing pressure on farmers to improve productivity and manage key resources. He also shares some insight into what he is doing on his own farm. He writes:
The pressure being put on farmers and growers around nitrogen use is growing. It’s an expensive product – one of the most expensive inputs for wheat – so it’s in our best interest to use it as efficiently as possible. Even aside from the financial implications, nitrogen use is something Defra is looking at closely which we can see with its current consultation on urea. But if we want to improve our productivity, as well as maintaining access to key products, as an industry we need to understand where we sit in terms of efficiency, to what extent we are building fertiliser use into our net zero ambitions and how it fits into the overall sustainability of the arable sector.
We know that as in industry we are becoming more efficient, but for us to be able to understand how much and to be able to demonstrate it we need data. Now, I think many of you will agree with me that for too many years we have had too little usable data, and that needs to change. We need accurate key performance indicators so we can effectively analyse and measure input performance, and even before that we need to establish a baseline from which these performance indicators can be developed and measured.
And that is where you come in
The NFU has launched a Nitrogen Use Efficiency survey which we're asking growers to fill in so we can collect the data needed to establish this baseline to build from. I know that everyone is really busy at the moment and filling in another survey isn’t how you want to be spending your time, but it really is important that we get a starting point so we can show what is already being achieved on farm and demonstrate that efficient use of nitrogen can be a big part of increasing productivity as well as hitting the government’s clean air targets.
The survey is really quick and easy to complete, so as an early Christmas gift to the NFU please get your responses in as soon as possible. The survey closes in January.
More from NFUonline:
- Free webinars for traders of plants/plant products between GB and the EU/NI
- Defra opens consultation on urea fertilisers
- Watch again: NFU Live - Brexit and Trade