The AIC has responded to Defra’s consultation over the sale and use of solid urea fertiliser, which has now closed, as part of its move to reduce ammonia emissions by 16% by 2030.

Defra had suggested three options to reduce ammonia emissions: a ban on the use or sale of solid urea fertilisers – its preferred option; a requirement to stabilise solid urea fertilisers with the addition of a urease inhibitor; or restricting the spreading of solid urea fertilisers, to January 15th to March 31st.

The AIC response states that a ban on the sale and use of solid urea fertiliser is unwarranted. Instead, it is urging government to give the fertiliser sector the opportunity to reduce ammonia emissions through an industry-led commitment, based around the principles of nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), that involves demonstrating delivery through a combination of FACTS qualified advice and farm assurance auditing. The trade association says it is committed to improving the farm nutrient balance (notably for nitrogen and phosphorus) and NUE by 2030.

Robert Sheasby, AIC’s chief executive, says: “This industry-led approach would have many advantages over banning a nitrogen source from use. With an end goal to achieve UK 2030 emissions targets, and mindful of all that livestock farmers will need to do on the manure management front, the fertiliser sector is stepping up to deliver its part in curbing ammonia emissions from urea-based fertilisers.

“We recognise that all fertiliser sources have their pros and cons, and that farmers and growers need the right products, for the right weather conditions, at the right time. This is where the fertiliser sector and all professional advisers are best placed to help. Supporting farmers to improve their overall crop NUE is a win-win situation,” concludes Mr Sheasby.