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What You Should Know About Fall Anhydrous Ammonia Applications

Thinking about applying anhydrous ammonia this fall? If you’re on sandy soils prone to leaching, don’t do it. Ditto for heavier soils that haven’t cooled below 50°F. or may not do so this fall. 

If you're not in these situations, though, properly fall-applied anhydrous ammonia is a good way to provide nitrogen (N) for next year’s corn, says Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Extension agronomist.

“It disperses nicely in the soil when conditions are good and when application is done properly,” he says. “It is usually cheaper than other forms of nitrogen.” 

Loss potential does exist. If normal rainfall patterns in states like Illinois occur, though, loss potential is typically low, he says. In fact, much N loss through tile in the spring is leftover N from the previous season, not from fall-applied N, he says.

Provided the soil is prone not to leaching, Nafziger believes fall anhydrous applications can perform as well as those made in the spring. Although the chance of N loss is a bit higher in the fall, fall soils tend to be drier and applications easier to make. 

“There is not as much smearing and compaction when soils are drier,” he says. 



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