EU Nitrate Directive – challenges towards an optimized fertilization of arable crops

A good start for the crop requires a fertilization according to the needs along the vegetation period. The fertilizer distribution on the field should be exact, even and accurate until to the border of the field. Thus should be fulfilled even with large working widths and under unfavorable wind conditions. Liquid fertilization with boom sprayers is the most suitable form for an even application in and until the border of the field. New requirements in different member states have been established in order to improve the water quality.

EU Nitrate Directive – challenges towards an optimized fertilization of arable cropsPicture: Extreme coarse-droplet application of UAN with FD nozzles – gentle to plants and minimal risk of crop scroch.

In Germany for instances it is no longer possible to apply N- or P-containing substances on frozen soil. Buffer zones to water bodies increase from 1 to up to 15 m depending on the degree of slope. Splited applications of max. 80 kg N/ha each are required in case the slope is more than 10%.

With the introduction of bigger buffer zones towards water bodies, the even application of liquid fertilizers until the field border is gaining of importance. Even no direct deposition of fertilizer into neighboring areas, especially natural habitats worthy of protection, is permitted. The uniform application with liquid fertilizer nozzles or hose drops until the border of the field prevents the under dosing of the outer 10 m. Those “hunger stripes” frequently observed by using fertilizer spreaders result in yield losses.

With the EU Nitrate Directive, which is integral part of the Water Framework Directive, the nutrient efficiency gains in importance due to the limitation of fertilizer. The advantages of liquid fertilization for plants consist in the need-based application either in form of N-stabilized liquid fertilizers or in small doses. The immediate availability under dry conditions is one of the most important features.

Lechler offers the appropriate application technology for liquid fertilization – for early to late stages during the vegetation period and for different arable crops.

FD liquid fertilizer nozzles are the ideal application technique for the first and second fertilizer application. The essential criterion is their extremely even lateral distribution, comparable to a flat spray nozzle. This prevents the formation of stripes. Fertilizer applications adapted to the need of the crop are possible via the nozzle sizes from 02 to 20. The patented pre-atomizer principle leads to an extreme coarse droplet atomization with extremely low spray impact on the plant leafs and therefore minimal risk of scorch. By using the adequate sprayer technique high area performance is a big economic advantage. Compared to fertilizer spreaders, the use under windy conditions offers the necessary operational flexibility, especially when using big spray booms.

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