eNtrench™ Lifts Hay Yield and Quality
The key to preserving nitrogen in the root zone is keeping nitrogen available in the ammonium (NH4+) form as long as possible. eNtrench Nitrogen Stabiliser protects nitrogen at the root zone and optimizes yield potential by greatly slowing the conversion of ammonium to nitrate, which results in nitrogen being available to crops for a longer period of time as they grow. Through this process eNtrench also reduces nitrous oxide emissions (a greenhouse gas) and protects ground water from nitrate contamination through leaching, especially during periods of heavy rainfall and saturated soils.
“Growers have seen excellent results using eNtrench in several markets in Australia. For example, use in the sugarcane market has seen cane yield increase by more than 5% and sugar content increase by more than 9%. More total sugar per hectare and the financial benefit to growers go hand-in-hand with the environmental benefits of preventing nitrates from leaching onto the nearby waterways” advised Dan Dixon, Dow AgroSciences’ Cereal Market Manager.
During 2015 a trial was conducted in South Australia’s mid-north to determine the effectiveness of eNtrench at increasing biomass in oaten hay crops. “The trial was established with the aim of supplying enough nitrogen to produce a 6 tonne oaten hay crop. This was based on calculating the amount of nitrogen required to be applied and taking into account the remnant soil nitrogen, determined through a pre-season soil test” explained Mr Dixon. During the season the strips that received urea were visibly greener than the plots with just the base DAP (diammonium phosphate). In October, twelve biomass subsamples were taken from the treatment strips and collated to determine biomass yield in tonnes per hectare. The results showed a small biomass increase from adding urea to the base DAP, although this was not significantly greater than the base DAP alone. Where eNtrench was applied with the urea and the base DAP, biomass yield was consistently and significantly greater than the other treatments, with an average increase in biomass of 640 kg (10.4%) over the standard practice treatment. The eNtrench treatment also increased the consistency of the yield across the strips with even the lowest yielding plot achieving the target 6 tonne yield; 34% higher than the standard treatment lowest yield plot. “With oaten hay around $220 a tonne, a small investment at seeding time can lead to significant returns at harvest” added Mr Dixon.
Another demonstration trial nearby found that eNtrench treated oats resulted in higher protein and lower nitrate levels in the hay produced versus the other part of the paddock that wasn’t treated with eNtrench. “Greater biomass is an obvious benefit to the grower. Increased protein is more difficult to market. The Chinese and Middle East markets prefer high protein feeds, which is currently met by lucerne and Sudan grass hay from the United States. With our geographical location, this could be an enormous opportunity for Australian growers, where we may be able to provide a cheaper source of high fibre, high protein feed. We’re actively talking with exporters and marketers to see how our growers can benefit from this result” explained Mr Dixon.
For eNtrench to be effective there are a number of elements to consider. eNtrench should only be used in areas that consistently see nitrogen as the limiting factor on yield. These are normally in areas which have high rainfall events leading to leaching and/or waterlogging issues. Using eNtrench at sowing when the soil is still warm will also increase the benefit as this is when a large amount of nitrogen can be lost before the crop has the ability to access it. High yielding crops (such as oaten hay and fodder production), sown early in high rainfall areas are perfect markets for eNtrench use.