“Urea is a viable alternative to CAN for Irish farmers,” according to Dr Patrick Forrestal from Teagasc Johnstown Castle, who was speaking at the Soil Fertility Conference last week.

Forrestal said urea is a cheaper nitrogen source for grassland and reduces loss of the greenhouse gas N2O when compared to CAN. Based on research carried out on the performance of urea and CAN, Forrestal found that urea gives comparable yield performance to CAN in terms of grass growth throughout the year, particularly at lower rates, but had lower total nitrogen (N) recovery. Lower N recovery is a result of ammonia loss which can occur at all times of the year and is related to conditions at the time of application.