Levity are at the forefront of research into nutrient use efficiency with research programmes on all major crop nutrients. Our work is helping reduce the amount of fertiliser needed whilst lifting yield and crop quality.

In this article Levity’s David Marks and Anna Weston discuss why nutrient use efficiency is important, and how Levity are working to improve it.

Fertilisers are an essential part of modern farming, without them global food production would more than halve. However fertiliser production and use is a major contributor to global warming and to environmental pollution. With the most used nutrient Nitrogen, crops typically only take up a third of what is applied. This is not acceptable and we have to get better at it.

At Levity our researchers are working to improve nutrient use efficiency in three ways. Efficiency of uptake, efficiency of partitioning, and efficiency of energy. By improving all these factors we are able to create more advanced products that give high yields with less waste.

Uptake efficiency involves finding ways to increase the amount of applied nitrogen that ends up in crops, rather than the environment. Our LinK / LimiN nitrogen stabilising technology prevents leaching and volatilisation so that the nitrogen farmers apply goes into the crop.

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Partitioning efficiency involves understanding how plants use the nutrients once they absorb them, and ensuring as much of the nitrogen applied is used to grow the harvested part of crops (grain, fruit, tubers) as possible, with less nitrogen being used to grow discarded parts of the crop (straw, shoots etc). This is an area of research Levity have invested heavily in, so that our products give more yield per Kg of N taken up.

Energy efficiency involves understanding how much energy a crop needs to use when processing the food it takes in. Less energy used converting N to protein leads to faster crop growth. Our research shows that our technology allows crops to use 12 times less energy, than conventional fertilisers.

Levity MD David Marks notes “Agriculture is changing, more and more focus is now being given to getting more out the inputs we use. Nitrogen is the biggest input used by farmers globally, but how much benefit are farmers getting from it? By improving nutrient use efficiency we can both  increase yields and decrease inputs”

Levity MD Anna Weston said “Our TouCan product has proved how applying small amounts of N can drive large increases in yield. This is achieved by understanding how plants work, and helping them to use the inputs applied” adding “these pioneering fertilisers are helping to make food production more sustainable, and delivering better value to farmers”.

David recently featured in Crop Production Magazine, where he discussed Nutrient Use Efficiency. You can find the article here.