Fall nutrient applications, particularly nitrogen, can help crops get off to the right start the following year. At the same time, targeted nutrient management is a goal shared across our industry, especially with nitrogen issues at the forefront of many conversations. It’s important to check field conditions and use technology to determine effective and responsible nitrogen management practices.
Stabilize nitrogen for sustainable, effective use
It is important to stabilize nitrogen in the fall to slow down its conversion into the mobile nitrate form. Un-stabilized nitrogen applications will expose the field to more risk, leaving winter precipitation and wet spring conditions to carry the nitrate nitrogen off target. Stabilizing nitrogen protects your investment as well as water quality.
The majority of nitrogen loss (around 70%) can occur below ground so adding protection to reduce leaching and loss from denitrification is important. Using N-Serve®
nitrogen stabilizer with fall-applied anhydrous ammonia will make that nitrogen less susceptible to loss by keeping more of it available in the root zone during key corn growth stages.
Check field conditions for best nitrogen application timing
There are several things you can easily evaluate to determine if fall nitrogen applications are appropriate for your acres.
Use tech to manage nitrogen responsibly
- Soil temperatures should cool to (and stay below) 50 degrees Fahrenheit as this is when soil bacteria activity is reduced.
- Soil textures should be medium to loamy for optimal fall nitrogen applications. Sandy soils and coarse to medium topsoil with fractured limestone may allow fall-applied nitrogen to leach into water supplies, threatening groundwater quality.
- Soil moisture that is moderate works best for ammonia application, but dry soils with medium or heavy texture that are in good physical condition can also work. Wet soils must be avoided due to poor sealing ability and potential of clodding.
Using ag technology to optimize nitrogen applications can significantly increase potential return on investment and minimize the overall impact to the environment.
- In-season imagery can help ensure you pinpoint the exact locations within a field where high yield environments exist. These images can be used to design a base layer fall nitrogen recommendation which can be followed by a precise in-season application to optimize high yield zones.
- Models can aid you in monitoring in-season variables and making decisions on optimal rates. For example, you can see unfavorable weather in the forecast or look at response to nitrogen (RTN) scores on your hybrids and realize your hybrid might be hungry for nitrogen to drive an increase in bushels.
- Tissue and soil samples can be paired with models and imagery to provide more insight into what the plant is enduring. Sampling can also be used to calibrate the model back to fit your farm and hybrid.
- Variable rate technology can be used to apply nitrogen exactly where it needs to go. This can be beneficial for minimizing nitrogen waste and managing cost per bushel.
Contact your local WinField United retailer
to determine the best nitrogen management options for your operation.