Agronomical trials 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, the Ministry of Agriculture in July 2004, included the Neem Coated Urea in FCO-Fertilizer Control Order.
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 kernel Oil and production as such of Neem Coated Urea has increased significantly.
As per notification dated 25.05.2015 all the urea producers in the country shall now be producing 100% urea as NCC in order to improve crop productivity and reduce the subsidy. 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, Phosphorus 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 gets 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 the atmosphere.
There are many references available on Nitrogen that indicates that the recovery of nitrogen under irrigated and submerged conditions is hardly 35% due to various kinds of losses 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 scientists have come out with various agronomical recommendations, to reduce these losses. 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 kinds of nitrification inhibitors such as Nitrapyrin (N-Serve) and Terrazole (Dwett) were developed in the 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 forms such as Neem oil cake, Neem oil and other Neem products have been found useful in reducing the release from Urea and increasing its use efficiency. Neem oil contains various kinds of bitter, especially the Meliacins that have been identified in retarding the process of nitrification of Urea.
Production of Neem Coated Urea at NFL
Producers standardized the techniques for production of Neem Coated Urea. Based upon the results of extensive field trial where Neem Coated urea was found to be agronomical superior to normal prilled urea, National Fertilizers Limited 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. Company has facilities at all its 3 Units namely Nangal, 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.