Nitrogen Dynamics

Researcher: Dr. Robert Blackshaw and Xiying Hao, AAFC Lethbridge, AB, John O’Donovan and Neil Harker, AAFC Lacombe AB, Eric Johnson, AAFC Scott SK and Cecil Vera, AAFC Melfort SK

Project Code: 3.2.3

Final Report: March 2013

Summary: Nitrogen fertilizer costs have more than doubled in recent years, and therefore any increase in N use efficiency will reduce costs and increase farm profits. Researchers at AAFC in Lethbridge, Alberta led a multi-year study to determine the merits of polymercoated urea (ESN) compared with urea on weed management and yield of hybrid and
open-pollinated (OP) canola. Results confirmed that hybrid canola cultivars are more competitive with weeds than open-pollinated (OP) canola and yielded more than OP canola in 75% of the cases. Both hybrid and OP canola responded positively to higher than currently recommended N fertilizer rates in about 50% of the cases. ESN (polymer-coated urea) compared with urea fertilizer increased canola yield in 25% of the cases. The study also confirmed that nitrous oxide emissions are not a major concern on the Canadian prairies.

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