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Winter Wheat Close Up

At Target Fertilisers we are fully aware of how farmers are taking a more sustainable approach to farming and the most efficient use of Nitrogen (N) to boost grass and crop yields. Often the applied N is not all used by the plant and ends up being lost to the atmosphere. In order to reduce the need for such large N inputs, a better understanding of nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) is required. To gain a greater understanding of NUE and how we can reduce the level of N being applied, in partnership with Brandon Bioscience Target Fertilisers developed and trialled the Terra Range, which is coated in the biostimulant PSI® 362. The trials were carried out across 3 types of farming systems and a peer-reviewed paper was published on each.

A peer-reviewed paper is a process where an author’s scholarly work, research, or ideas are examined by others who are experts in the same field and is considered necessary to ensure academic scientific quality. It ensures the accuracy and validity of the trial work.


Trial 1 – Reducing Nitrogen Input in Barley Crops While Maintaining Yields Using an Engineered Biostimulate Derived from Ascophyllum Nodosum to Enhance Nitrogen Use Efficiency

In this first trial we investigated the potential of the biostimulant, PSI® 362, to increase NUE in barley crops under reduced N input in multiyear field trials. The barley was sown at the beginning of April by mechanical drilling. A quantity of 140.6 kg of N and 102.8 kg of PSI® 362 treated N was applied per ha. A common first application of NPK 10-10-20 was added first to both conditions at sowing.

The method of application of the biostimulant as a foliar spray or top dressing was also investigated. In order to assess the impact on NUE, well-established N uptake and assimilation plant parameters at phenotypical, metabolic, enzymatic, and molecular level were evaluated in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and barley crop. The results support the agronomic use of this engineered ANE that allowed a 25% reduction in N fertilizer usage while maintaining or increasing crop yield.

Barley plants were harvested 22 days after second fertiliser application, at grain maturity. The results showed that PSI® 362 treated fertiliser can improve capacity for nitrate uptake in barley crops.

Recommended spring and winter barley varieties grown with the use of TerraCAN, at a rate of 25% less than standard N rate, resulted in no difference or significantly higher grain yield for 5 out 5 field trials performed during 2016 to 2018.  Overall, PSI® 362 treated barley varieties showed a statistically significant 3-year average yield increase of 5.57% using 25% less N. Similarly, the NUE of the PSI® 362 treatments was 29.85–60.26% higher than those of the control conditions.

 Winter Barley close up


Trial 2 – A mechanism investigation of enhanced nitrogen use efficiency in wheat seedlings after treatment with Ascophyllum nodosum (PSI® 362) bio-stimulant

In the second trial we focused on investigating how PSI® 362 worked on winter wheat in terms of NUE. Wheat is characterised by a requirement for a high level of N fertilisation to maintain rapid growth at early stages and it provides more than 30% of the calories of the global population. An NUE assessment of winter wheat was performed using 9 independent biological replicates, with 8 plants per replicate. In order to test the efficacy of PSI® 362 in enhancing NUE in winter wheat, 6 days old seedlings were transferred to an agar medium supplemented with a reduced N medium and three doses of PSI® 362 in powder form were applied. After 6 days of treatment, total plant, shoot and root biomass, and nitrate content in fresh tissue were measured. All treated plants showed a significant increase nitrate content. A clear dose response to PSI® 362 was evident.


Trial 3 – The Effect of an Engineered Biostimulant Derived from Ascophyllum nodosum on Grass Yield under a reduced Nitrogen Regime in an Agronomic Setting

The objective of the third trial was to assess the effectiveness of three rates of biostimulant coated N fertiliser applied to a ryegrass sward at a reduced N rate (75% N) versus no biostimulant at a 75% N rate and no biostimulant at a 100% N rate on dry matter (DM) production. The experiment was setup in a rotational grazing system with six different soils classified into two different soil types. The six different soils (2 × loam and 4 × silt-loam) were collected from the Kerry, Cork and Tipperary regions of Ireland in 2013. The results illustrated that the application of PSI® 362 N significantly improved NUE when compared to the 75% N control with a 33% increase in NUE. There was also improved NUE when compared to the 100% N control, with a 17% increase in NUE.

We are thrilled to have these peer reviewed papers published on our trial work. The results really speak for themselves. We hope these trials will solidify the role of the Terra Range in the future of farming. Looking to the future we hope these results cause a rise in the number of farmers embracing this new technology. The key goal of the Terra range of products is to improve NUE. If we can use less N more efficiently, we will be moving towards a more positive future for Irish agriculture while maintain a high level of output.

Ryegrass close up



More Information

To find out how to introduce the Terra range to your farm read our previous blog, click here 

For further information on our Terra Range of products, click here 

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