Nitrogen use efficiency of maize and cotton in 1.32 Mha of commercial farms in Brazil

We used data from 2011 to 2019 of cotton and maize yields and N fertilization of 4,519 commercial fields covering 1.32 Mha in Brazil to calculate nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), N export with grains and lint+seeds, and N surplus. Despite the wide variations expected in such an extensive database, the average N sustainability indicators were satisfactory and within the desired range suggested by Oenema et al. (2015) of NUE (over 50% and below 90%), N surplus under 80 kg ha-1 , and N export over 80 kg ha-1 . These indicators and useful for farmers to adjust practices to reduce environmental impacts while preserving yields and profitability.

Improving NUE has positive impacts on profits and the environment. Access to markets and favorable image are increasingly dependent on sustainable production, a concern of commercial agricultural companies.