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Adjust N timing = Savings?
“I try to do the best with what I have – consistently. I try to pay attention to all the details to maximize the most of it,” says Dorsey. However, the yield data shocked him. Applying N with Hagie’s Nitrogen Toolbar at the V10 stage increased yields by 11.6 bushels per acre and profits by $56.30 per acre.
After switching to a liquid N program in the last couple years, Dorsey was confident he was providing adequate N at key times for crop uptake. He splits 32% N applications by incorporating one half preplant and sidedressing the remaining N with variable-rate technology.
Dorsey’s trial had these five different treatments, all with 112 pounds of N applied preplant:
Dorsey used the Nitrogen Toolbar to mimic his normal V4 to V5 stage rates at the V10 stage to evaluate if sidedressing between the V4 to V5 stage was the correct timing.
The trial is in a block system consisting of four repetitions, taking an average of 30 acres per field. The results are the average of two hybrids at two locations.
“A lot of producers put N on upfront. It’s a huge risk,” says Webster. His concern is that most farmers don’t even realize the amount of N they lose before the crop has a chance to tap into it.
Since the late-season application is a completely different practice than he uses, it gave him the opportunity to see if the method was viable for his operation. The $56.30 difference left Dorsey considering how he could reach the next level with his N program.
“You think, as a farmer, whatever practice you’re doing is pretty close to right,” says Dorsey. “I’m always trying to do better, and I think I’m giving it all I’ve got. Obviously, there are always better avenues.”
Farmers participating in the program have a general set of protocols to follow:
In addition to these protocols, eight rows on the toolbar have closers; seven do not.
“It’s on your farm, your soil type,” says Webster. “It gives validity to a grower. They have ownership of that data,” says Webster.
“I’m going to have to be able to produce more corn with less N, and this is something that’s going to allow me to tweak my N program,” says Dorsey.