Many growers apply nitrogen in the fall to take advantage of the wide application window. But there are risks with fall application. Applying seven months prior to planting leaves nitrogen vulnerable to loss from rain events and warm winters.
Because nitrates easily move in the soil profile, it is important to map that movement to get a picture of your nitrate availability.
The success of your seed bed started with your combine pass last fall. Managing residue and compaction in the fall sets the stage for the 2017 seed bed. A quality seed environment requires four things:
When the soil warms up in spring, the microbial organisms that break down the previous season’s corn stalks use nitrogen as a food source. When those organisms are busy breaking down the corn stalks, they tie up nitrogen that would otherwise be available in your fields for plant use. The tie up is often called the carbon penalty. The result: nitrogen is not available to your plant.
Nitrogen moves because of environmental factors, but it’s important to understand the chemical process happening behind that movement in order to better control it.
Predicting this summer’s pest problems is like predicting next week’s weather – it’s anyone’s guess.
If you use a coulter sidedress bar, you have new options that can increase N efficiency and reduce maintenance costs.
The Base Plus approach to nitrogen application is very sound in these tight economic times when wasteful spending of input dollars can cost growers dearly.
It has been said that every nitrogen decision can be 100% correct or 100% incorrect depending on what happens in the environment following the decision. Understanding the art of nitrogen can help growers evaluate what new technology can best drive their on-farm profitability moving forward.
Due to unpredictable growing conditions, growers often have to make decisions for their cropping plan not knowing exactly what the season might look like. Fertility decisions are not excluded from this process. In order to purchase fertilizer, they often have to make decisions about rates and forms of N and hope for the best. However, a base plus approach can help growers take some of the guesswork out of nitrogen management by pushing back application to later in the season, making it easier to know how much to apply and when.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
You probably recognize the words of Charles Dicken’s famous opening line, but this phrase accurately and appropriately describes the 2015 and 2016 growing seasons, and is sure to describe consecutive seasons to come.
2015, in most areas, was “the worst of times,” bringing large amount of rainfall that moved nitrogen away from the root zone, leaving little for the plant.
2016, on the other hand, was “the best of times,” with adequate levels of moisture and substantial but not excessive heat.