Neem Coated Urea
Agronomical trial on Paddy and Wheat crops with Neem coated Urea as source of Nitrogen has produced significantly higher yield at research and farm level. Looking into the potential of Neem Coated Urea and its acceptance by the farmers, Ministry of Agriculture in July 2004, included the Neem Coated Urea in FCO. The use of Neem Coated Urea has been found to improve the uptake of N, P and K significantly. Since 2008 the, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers allowed Neem Coated Urea manufacturer to sell NCU at 5% above the MRP, to recover the cost of coating, however cost of Neem Oil and production as such of Neem Coated Urea has increased significantly.
As per GoI notification, a company can produce and sell Neem Coated Urea equivalent to the maximum of 35% of its total installed capacity of Urea. Efficient use of nutrient is one of the foremost concerns of the agriculture scientist in increasing the farm output at farmer field level. Balanced use Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium along with the requirements of secondary and micronutrient increase the yield at economic level. Of the three major Nutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash, nitrogen has received the maximum attention because of many reasons. Nitrogen gets easily converted to available forms from various types of fertilizers that are being applied for crop nutrition. Also nitrogen in Nitrate form is highly mobile and get lost through the process of leaching especially under irrigated conditions. Nitrogen is also lost in the process of de-nitrification where the nitrate form is back converted into Nitrogen and Ammonia and lost to atmosphere.
There are many references available on Nitrogen that indicates that the recovery of nitrogen under irrigated and submerged condition is hardly 35% due to various kind of loses it is subjected to such as de-nitrification, ammonia volatilization and leaching. In the world 50% of nitrogen is supplied through Urea and the scenarios in India are no different. In order to keep the nitrogen losses at minimum level, agricultural scientist have come out with various agronomical recommendations, to reduce these loses. The prevalent recommendations are split application, band placement, and deep placement using the see drill. All these practices make available the right quantities of requirement at the place of absorption. Application of bigger granules of urea retards the dissolution.
In addition to agronomical practices, various kind of nitrification inhibitors such as Nitrapyrin (N-Serve) and Terrazole (Dwett) were developed in USA. These Nitrification agents are very expensive and add to the already high cost of crop production in India.
Keeping in view the low Nitrogen use efficiency it has been felt to find out the use of some indigenous use of material and coating process for reducing the nitrogen losses from Urea. Use of Neem oil in various form such as Neem oil cake, Neem oil and other Neem product have been found useful in reducing the release from Urea and increase its use efficiency. Neem oil contains various kind of bitter, especially the Meliacins that have been identified in retarding the process of nitrification of Urea.
Production of Neem Coated Urea at NFL
National Fertilizers Limited, in the year 2002, standardized the techniques for production of Neem Coated Urea in situ, at its Panipat Unit. Since then many changes have been made in the process and applicant solution, to have a uniform and consistent coating of Neem oil on urea prills, to maintain the concentration of Neem oil content as per the specification prescribed in FCO. Based upon the results of extensive field trial where Neem Coated urea was found to be agronomical superior to normal prilled urea, NFL became the first company in India that was granted the permission to produce and market the Neem Coated Urea, vide Govt of India Notification No S.O.807 (E) dated 9 July 2004 .Today the company has facilities at all its 3 Units namely Bathinda, Panipat and Vijaipur, for production of Neem Coated Urea. Neem coated urea produced at these production facilities is marketed in all the 14 States where the company is marketing its Urea.