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Sponsored: No Bushel Left Behind: Can Nitrogen Sealers Maximize Your Yield?

With all the rain we have been experiencing throughout the Midwest, the number one thing on most farmer’s minds is replant or delayed planting decisions. Looking ahead to the rest of the season however, one important consideration is how much nitrogen (N) is available to our corn crop.

Nitrogen is the nutrient needed most by the corn crop. It is also one of the most mobile nutrients in a cropping season, making it a constant concern for farmers. There are three forms or causes of nitrogen loss. These include:

  1. Denitrification: When soils are saturated, oxygen is removed the soil. This converts nitrate into gas, which can

then escape into the air. Denitrification is the most common form of N loss, especially in poorly drained soils.

  1. Leaching: The movement of nitrates down through the largest pores in the soil profile due to excessive rain.
  2. Volatilization: Loss of gaseous N compounds to the atmosphere. Volatilization is common when urea-containing

fertilizers are surface applied or if the soil doesn’t seal behind the applicator.

Denitrification and leaching often occurs early in the season due to saturated soil conditions, making 2017 a prime situation for severe N loss. The excessive rains throughout the early growing season have the potential to cause large N loss, and farmers who applied 100% of their N upfront may not have enough remaining in the soils to produce a high-yielding crop. This is why Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® strongly supports the practice of split applying N

Split applications significantly reduce a farmer’s margin for error because by waiting, you will have a better idea of how the season will pan out. Applying a lower rate of N upfront allows you to come back later in the season and determine how much N has been lost and then apply what is needed to provide the highest yielding crop possible.

So the real question is, how do we protect our remaining N and ensure no bushel of potential yield is left behind? Over the last four years. Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® has been evaluating nitrogen sealers and their ability to retain N and increase yield. In 2016, nitrogen sealers were given a PFR Proven™ stamp for their ability to consistently increase yield and return on investment.


Nitrogen sealers are a pair of coulters that attach to the sidedress bar behind the knife. They pull the soil over the trench opened by the knife, sealing the opening and holding in the N that could otherwise volatilize. Nitrogen sealers help farmers protect their investment by incorporating N thoroughly into the soil to prevent N loss via volatilization. Beck’s historical PFR data has shown a 4.7 Bu./A. yield increase across multiple environments and multiple soils types.


It will be important to make the most of our in-season N applications this year and protect our investment to the best of our ability. This means managing N loss in situations when we can control it. Nitrogen sealers are great because they are cost effective measure to help you protect the most valuable nutrient for your corn crop. Beck’s PFR is continuing to test these sealers this year along with a new N management system from Nitrogen Sealing Systems. We are excited to share this data with you in the 2017 PFR book.

For regional results of our 2016 Nitrogen Sealer Study, click the links below.

Beck’s PFR is the largest source of unbiased, cutting-edge agronomic information in the industry. More than 110 different studies were conducted in 2016, comparing over 150 products across multiple locations to learn how different management practices and new technologies perform in field environments. In evaluating agronomic practices and input products, not comparing seed products, Beck’s PFR aims to help farmers maximize their input dollars and increase their bottom line. To view more studies from the 2016 PFR book, click here .

Practical Farm Research (PFR)® and PFR Proven are trademarks of Beck’s Superior Hybrids Inc

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