Slow but sure: the potential for slow-release nitrogen fertilizers to increase crop productivity

Multi-location field trials were established across nine districts in Nepal during 2018-2019 to assess the effect of slow release nitrogen fertilizers, i.e. polymer coated urea (PCU) and urea briquette on nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and crop productivity of maize and rice.

PCU and urea briquette increased nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) by 98% and 58%, respectively compared with conventional urea. PCU and urea briquette saved N inputs by up to 30 -50% due to reduced losses but still maintained or increased yields compared to the conventional urea application.