A comparison of techniques for determining nitrogen release from polymer-coated urea in the field

Melissa L. Wilson, Carl J. Rosen, John F. Moncrief

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Although laboratory analyses of nitrogen (N) release from polymer-coated urea (PCU) are available for most brands of PCU, data are lacking for release patterns under field conditions. Release rate studies for PCU are often time-consuming and expensive as a result of the need for multiple chemical analyses. We compared the N release using a weight loss method with a direct chemical analysis method for two types of PCU (Agrium PCU, Agrium U.S. Inc.; Kingenta PCU, Shandong Kingenta Ecological Engineering Co., Ltd.). The PCU prills were placed in a mesh bag and N loss from the prills over time was determined indirectly by loss in weight. The N content of the prills was determined by the combustion method to verify the weight method technique. A second study was conducted to determine if the type of mesh bag material affects the percentage of N released. For this study, mesh bags were constructed from two different materials with two different hole sizes and total amount of open area. Overall, regression analysis suggested that the percentage of N released as estimated by the weight method and combustion method was not significantly different over the growing season for two types of PCU. The mesh bags made of the material with smaller holes and less open area resulted in significantly less N release than the material with more open area and larger holes. Overall, these results suggest that the weight method can be reliably used as a substitute for chemical analysis to determine N release characteristics of PCU, but mesh bag materials must be taken into consideration to reduce errors. The best technique to determine N release may be one that does not include a mesh bag; however, until that method is developed, using a larger hole size is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-494
Number of pages3
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'A comparison of techniques for determining nitrogen release from polymer-coated urea in the field'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this