Research at other universities around the country has shown that the combination of using less fertilizer and increased crop yield can more than offset the cost of Agrotain, though weather, soil conditions and other factors can affect the outcome.
As urea fertilizer prices go up, the benefits of using Agrotain also rise, when the spread between costs is maintained, Ulrich says. That has been the case in recent years, accounting for some of Agrotain’s popularity.
Other benefits cited
The benefits also seem to accrue for other crops in California, including almonds and a wide range of vegetables.
A test by Zaccaria Agricultural Consulting in Kern County showed when Agrotain Plus was used, almond production rose to more than 4,000 pounds per acre from about 3,800 pounds in the second year of a three-year study.
The Agrotain Plus cost was $18.25 per acre, and the increase in revenue from the harvest was $429 per acre.
Tree crops pose special challenges for researchers, as the effects from applications do not surface immediately and may be cumulative.
Ulrich says evidence for positive results from Agrotain use is accumulating, and he predicts that more growers will give it a try.
“I’m confident enough now to say that across the board, there is potential benefit for every crop and for every [fertilization] practice,” he says. “It’s not crop specific.”