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Urea deep placement Nitrogen management for Efficient Rice Fertilization

Boost rice yields and save on fertilizer costs through efficient nitrogen management

Deep Urea Placement technology involves drilling large granules or briquettes of urea fertilizer into the soil, specifically targeting the root zone of rice crops. This method enables a slow release of nitrogen, thereby enhancing nutrient uptake, soil fertility, and crop productivity. By placing urea granules at a depth of 7 to 14 centimeters in soil pockets near the rice seedlings, it ensures a consistent supply of nitrogen throughout the growing season. This approach significantly improves the efficiency of nitrogen utilization by rice crops and is particularly suitable for rice farming in lowland areas with high clay and silt soils that are prone to surface water runoff. Moreover, deep urea placement is a versatile technology that benefits rice production under varying rainfall conditions, reducing the vulnerability of farmers to climate-related risks.


This technology is TAAT1 validated.


Scaling readiness: idea maturity 8/9; level of use 8/9

Cost: $$$ 0.4—0.8 USD

per Kg

ROI: $$$ 30 %

increase in yield

0.25 ton

Recommended rate per Ha

100—200 USD

Equivalence cost for the recommendated rate per Ha

10 USD

plunger-type applicator


Open source / open access


  • Inefficient Nitrogen Utilization: Traditional methods of urea application result in low nitrogen uptake by rice crops, with only 25% to 40% of applied nitrogen being utilized.

  • Environmental Pollution: Conventional broadcasting of urea contributes to nitrogen spill-over, contaminating air, groundwater, rivers, lakes, and oceans, leading to environmental pollution.

  • Low Grain Productivity: The current practices of urea application, with high nitrogen losses, contribute to suboptimal grain productivity in rice paddies.

  • Climate-Related Risks: Traditional methods lack resilience to climate variations, making rice production vulnerable to changing weather patterns, affecting overall crop yields.

  • Production Costs: The conventional approach, with multiple urea applications, incurs higher production costs for farmers without guaranteeing proportional increases in yields.

  • Limited Access to Irrigation: Farmers with limited or no access to irrigation face challenges in optimizing traditional urea application methods under varying rainfall conditions.

  • Environmental Impact: Greenhouse gas emissions, including ammonia and nitrogen-oxides, associated with conventional urea application, contribute to local and global climate disturbances.

  • Food Insecurity: Inefficient nitrogen management and suboptimal grain productivity contribute to food insecurity, necessitating more sustainable and productive agricultural practices.


  • Controlled Nitrogen Release: Large granules or briquettes release nitrogen slowly, optimizing absorption by rice crops and reducing waste.

  • Targeted Application: Precise drilling ensures fertilizer is placed directly in the root zone, minimizing spill-over and environmental impact.

  • Improved Soil Fertility: Direct delivery of nitrogen enhances soil fertility, promoting healthier rice crops and higher yields.

  • Drought Resilience: The technology, by placing fertilizers in the subsoil, contributes to increased drought resilience in farming systems.

  • Simplified Application: Single application per season simplifies the farming process, reducing labor and overall production costs.

  • Environmental Conservation: Minimizes nitrogen losses, preserving the environment by preventing contamination of air, water, and ecosystems.

  • Adaptability to Various Conditions: Suited for different agroecologies, it benefits both subsistence and commercial rice farmers in diverse environments.

Key points to design your business plan

For Manufacturers: 

Producing Deep Urea Placement technology offers a transformative solution addressing key challenges in traditional urea application, empowering diverse farming communities and contributing to improved global nutrition.

In order to efficiently produce the input, you need to identify reliable suppliers for manufacturing machines and obtaining the necessary raw materials such the briquette manufacturing machines and the urea fertilizer.

Your potential customers are : wholesale distributors of input to retailers, and to development projects, government agencies, and NGOs. 

Building strong partnerships with wholesale distributor networks is key to the success of your business.


For Resellers:

Selling Deep Urea Placement technology not only provides a valuable product but also fosters closer engagement with users while simultaneously contributing to improved global nutrition and empowering diverse farming communities.

To successfully navigate this market, you need to know where to source the Urea briquette in bulk, identify efficient transportation methods, and explore suitable storage facilities 

Your potential customer base is: small, local retailers, development projects, producers, and producer cooperatives or associations.


For Users: 

Using Deep Urea Placement (DUP) technology provides a sustainable and transformative solution for rice farmers, enhancing nitrogen utilization, minimizing environmental impact, improving soil fertility, and ultimately increasing crop yields. DUP simplifies fertilizer application, reduces labor and production costs, and ensures resilience to climate-related risks, contributing to food security and sustainable agriculture.

As key partners you need sellers of urea briquette.

The cost structure, one Kg price of Urea briquette, is ranging from USD 0.4-0.8.

You need to estimate the profit realized with the use of the the product.


Positive or neutral impact

Adults 18 and over
Positive high
The poor
Positive medium
Under 18
Positive low
Positive high

Positive or neutral impact

Climate adaptability
It adapts really well
Adaptability for farmers
It helps a lot
It helps them grow and thrive
Carbon footprint
It reduces emissions a lot
It makes a big difference
Soil quality
It makes the soil healthier and more fertile
Water usage
It uses the same amount of water

Countries with a green colour
Tested & adopted
Countries with a bright green colour
Countries with a yellow colour
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burundi Burkina Faso Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Côte d’Ivoire Eritrea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Cameroon Kenya Libya Liberia Madagascar Mali Malawi Morocco Mauritania Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Republic of the Congo Rwanda Zambia Senegal Sierra Leone Zimbabwe Somalia South Sudan Sudan South Africa Eswatini Tanzania Togo Tunisia Chad Uganda Western Sahara Central African Republic Lesotho
Countries where the technology has been tested and adopted
Country Tested Adopted
Benin Tested Adopted
Burkina Faso Tested Adopted
Kenya Tested Adopted
Mali Tested Adopted
Niger Tested Adopted
Nigeria Not tested Adopted
Senegal Tested Adopted
Togo Tested Adopted
Uganda Tested Adopted

This technology can be used in the colored agro-ecological zones. Any zones shown in white are not suitable for this technology.

Agro-ecological zones where this technology can be used
AEZ Subtropic - warm Subtropic - cool Tropic - warm Tropic - cool

Source: HarvestChoice/IFPRI 2009

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are applicable to this technology.

Sustainable Development Goal 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger
Sustainable Development Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Sustainable Development Goal 13: climate action
Goal 13: climate action

  1. Preparation: Ensure that the rice paddies are ready for fertilization, with rice plants properly spaced.

  2. Selection of Urea Form: Choose large granules, prills, or briquettes of urea, preferably weighing 1 to 3 grams each. These have been designed to release nitrogen slowly.

  3. Placement Technique: Using manual or mechanized tools, drill the selected urea form into the soil. The optimal depth for placement is between 7 to 14 centimetres.

  4. Spacing: For best results, urea should be placed between every four rice plants sown in a line. This ensures that the nitrogen is within optimal reach of the rice plant's roots.

  5. Single Application: Unlike traditional methods that require multiple applications, the UreaPro DeepNest technology typically requires just one application per growing season, thanks to its efficient nitrogen release mechanism.

  6. Alignment with Agronomic Practices: Use high-performing rice varieties and adhere to recommended farming practices to amplify the benefits of the technology. Ensure that rice is sown in carefully spaced lines for efficient nutrient uptake.

  7. Monitoring: Regularly monitor the rice crop's growth and health to ensure that the deep placement of urea is effectively benefiting the plants.

  8. Complementary Practices: While the technology itself requires fewer interventions, it's beneficial to align it with other agronomic practices like effective weed control to ensure maximal crop yield and quality.

  9. Post-Harvest: After harvesting, evaluate the overall performance and benefits of the technology to make any necessary adjustments in subsequent farming cycles.

Last updated on 15 July 2024