📄 Innovative Controlled-Release Polyurethane-Coated Urea Could Reduce N Leaching in Tomato Crop in Comparison to Conventional and Stabilized Fertilizers

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-20 Fri 08:50
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Agronomy, Vol. 10, Pages 1827: Innovative Controlled-Release Polyurethane-Coated Urea Could Reduce N Leaching in Tomato Crop in Comparison to Conventional and Stabilized Fertilizers

Agronomy doi: 10.3390/agronomy10111827

Authors: Luca Incrocci Rita Maggini Tommaso Cei Giulia Carmassi Luca Botrini Ferruccio Filippi Ronald Clemens Cristian Terrones Alberto Pardossi

Large amounts of fertilizers are being used in agriculture to sustain growing demands for food, especially in vegetable production systems. Soluble fertilizers can generally ensure high crop yields, but excessive leaching of nutrients, mainly as nitrate, can be a major cause of water pollution. Controlled-release fertilizers improve the nutrient use efficiency and lower the environmental hazard, usually without affecting the production. In this study, an innovative controlled-release coated urea fertilizer was compared to conventional nitrogen (N) fertilizers and a soluble ammonium-based fertilizer containing a nitrification inhibitor, in a round table tomato cultivation. Both the water and N balance were evaluated for each treatment, along with the yield and quality of the production. The experiment was repeated in three different seasons (spring, autumn and summer-autumn) in a glasshouse to prevent the effect of uncontrolled rainfall. The results indicated that N leaching decreased by increasing the percentage of coated urea. The application of at least 50% total N as coated urea strongly reduced N leaching and improved N agronomic efficiency in comparison with traditional fertilizers, ensuring at the same time a similar fruit production. Due to reduced leaching, the total N amount commonly applied by growers could be lowered by 25% without detrimental effects on commercial production.

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