Contact us Shop

Get the best return on your nitrogen applications this spring

Research from NIAB, reinforced by farmer tramline trials, has shown that feeding your soil microbes in the spring with a proven product like L-CBF BOOST can increase yield and allow for reduced nitrogen rates.

Even though nitrogen prices have decreased considerably from their 2022 peak, a softening in commodity markets means the break-even ratio (BER) for nitrogen fertiliser is still slightly above the figure set for RB209 recommendations (Table 1). In addition, high excess winter rainfall will likely leave the country with low soil nitrogen supply (SNS) indices this spring.

30 to 50% of a plant’s carbon is expelled through its roots as part of a symbiotic relationship with soil microbes, which supply nutrients in return. Products like L-CBF BOOST work by mimicking this relationship and feeding the soil microbes, increasing the availability of crucial nutrients. Best results are often gained when they are applied at critical times in a crop’s growth. This could be at drilling, shortly after, or alongside spring nitrogen applications.


NIAB trials demonstrate the value of QLF-Boost at growth stages 25 and 32

In 2020, NIAB investigated the role of L-CBF BOOST when combined with spring nitrogen applications on winter wheat (KWS Zyatt). The nitrogen was split at GS25 (tillering) and GS32 (leaf three emergence). Suboptimal (150 kg/ha) and optimal (200 kg/ha) nitrogen programmes supplemented by 30 L/ha of L-CBF BOOST at each of the timings.

The results were clear. L-CBF BOOST increased yield whenever it was included, especially when used twice in the season.


The benefits are accentuated when the margin over input cost is calculated using the returns from the increased yield and accounting for the programme’s cost.

Case study: Julian Gold, Hendred Estate, South Oxfordshire 

For the 2022-23 crop, Julian Gold established nitrogen efficiency trials to see if he could maintain yield when reducing nitrogen by using different inputs. Julian manages the 800 Ha Hendred Estate in South Oxfordshire, growing oilseed rape, winter wheat, winter barley, spring barley and beans, and was the 2019 Soil Farmer of the Year.

The trials were established in four-hectare blocks and involved differing nitrogen fertiliser rates and applying various products that claim to boost NUE or fix nitrogen.

His results for L-CBF BOOST corroborate the NIAB replicated trials.   However, Julian stresses that the results are anecdotal, not replicated or statistically checked.

Julian commented: “The control strip was 190 Kg/Ha N. Boost was applied at various rates on strips that had either 160,170 or 190 Kg/Ha N. All Boost treatments were higher yielding than the control, with the highest yielding strip being 30L/Ha Boost + 190 N. 60L/Ha Boost + 160 N also yielded above the control.

“The trial seems to show that it is possible to increase the yield of wheat by applying Boost or maintain yield by replacing some N with Boost.”

This season, he plans to layer the L-CBF BOOST with other products tested in 2023 to see if this is a viable way of maintaining yields and profitability with less artificial nitrogen.

Trials data points to a universal nutrient improvement with the addition of L-CBF BOOST.

Studies conducted by QLF Agronomy in 2020 and 2021 highlight how L-CBF BOOST not only capitalises on N use efficiency but also unlocks the remaining primary, secondary, and micronutrient abilities.

QLF Agronomy Research compared a blend of 10% L-CBF BOOST (4-0-3-2) and 90% Urea Ammonium Nitrate (UAN 28%) instead of a full rate of UAN 28%. Six-inch depth soil samples were acquired in a grid pattern before applying fertiliser. Samples were retaken two weeks later and evaluated to the first set of soil samples exercising Haney’s Soil Health Test Procedure.