Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 95, Issue 2, pp 175–185 | Cite as

Influence of urea fertiliser formulation, urease inhibitor and season on ammonia loss from ryegrass

Original Article


This paper reports the results of experiments to determine whether ammonia (NH3) loss can be reduced and nitrogen (N) use efficiency improved by using two relatively new commercial urea formulations rather than granular urea and urea ammonium nitrate. Four nitrogen treatments were applied at a rate of 40 kg N ha−1: granular urea, ‘Green Urea™ 14’ [containing 45.8 % N as urea and ‘Agrotain®’ (N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide) @ 5 L t−1 of urea as a urease inhibitor], ‘Nhance’, a fine particle spray [containing 46 % N as urea, ‘Agrotain’ @ 1 L t−1 of urea and gibberellic acid (applied at a rate of 10 g ha−1)] and urea ammonium nitrate in solution (UAN) surface applied. Ammonia loss was determined in autumn and spring using a micrometeorological method. In autumn, use of the Green Urea and Nhance reduced NH3 loss from the 30 % of applied N lost from the granular urea to 9 and 23 % respectively. Loss from all treatments in spring was very small (<2 % of applied N), because 4 mm of rain fell within 24 h of application onto an already wet site. The use of the Nhance and Green Urea instead of granular urea did not result in increased agronomic efficiency or recovery efficiency of the applied N, and this is most likely due to the presence of sufficient available N from both fertiliser application and the soil. A 15N study recovered 72.8 % of the applied N in the plants and soil, and showed that 30 % of the total N taken up by the plant was derived from the fertiliser, and 70 % from the soil.


Green urea N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide Agrotain Fine particle spray Ammonia loss Pasture production 



The authors thank the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, Incitec Pivot Ltd and ARC for funding the project. Laboratory and field assistance was provided by Mr M. Mahoney, Dr X. Chen, Associate Professor R. Edis, Y. Liu, L. Chen and M. Benfell.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, Melbourne School of Land and EnvironmentThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Incitec Pivot LimitedNorth GeelongAustralia

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