The Benefits of Improved Nitrogen Efficiency

The more time I spend talking to agronomists about fertilizer (it’s a borderline-embarrassing amount of time), the more I realize that increased Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) is the Holy Grail of crop production.  NUE refers to the proportion of applied Nitrogen that is taken up by plants (Bundy 2006) and it has been my observation that inefficient Nitrogen use is a key limiting factor that must be overcome in order for the world to continue feeding itself through the 21st century.