Moisture Puts Spotlight On Nitrogen

High corn prices, saturated soils brings up worries about nitrigen loss.

For the second year in a row, growers in many parts of the Midwest are facing moisture-saturated soils that could leave corn short on both nitrogen (N) and yield in 2008. That’s despite the fact that they applied, or are planning to apply, nitrogen at rates that typically are adequate to produce a bin-busting crop.

The possibility that soil moisture conditions could cause large nitrogen losses is especially daunting with corn futures prices above $5 per bushel and in-season nitrogen expected to cost 60 cents or more a pound, says Dr. Tracy Blackmer, research director for the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) On-Farm Network.

“There is so much money being invested in the crop, and the crop is so valuable, that growers need to devise strategies to counteract what could be a challenging year for supplying adequate nitrogen to the crop,” he says. “I have been getting lots of calls from growers who are concerned. Many of them applied anhydrous ammonia in the fall because it was relatively cheap compared to other forms.”

His advice? Be prepared to make in-season sidedress nitrogen applications if it looks like the crop will come up short on nitrogen. Additional nitrogen applied at planting could be wasted if conditions are conducive to large N losses.

Based on ISA On-Farm Network research, he suggests sidedressing 50 pounds per acre of additional nitrogen if rainfall is more than 13 inches from March through May.

Another alternative to this sidedress-no sidedress approach is to use an optical sensor system to customize the rate, says Blackmer. Optical sensing technology, which is relatively new on the market, assesses actual crop needs and applies the appropriate additional fertilizer rate in a single field pass.

The On-Farm Network tested the GreenSeeker optical sensing and variable-rate application system in 2007, when many Iowa growers also faced saturated soil conditions that short-changed the crop on nitrogen. The six-sensor GreenSeeker RT200 unit, which is mounted on a sidedress nitrogen applicator, uses infrared and near-infrared light to assess plant biomass and health as the rig moves across the field. Fertilizer rates are adjusted on the go, depending on the sensors’ assessment of the crop’s yield potential.

“The research showed that GreenSeeker detected nitrogen stress and applied the amount of nitrogen needed to alleviate it,” he says. “It provided an economic yield response to the extra nitrogen. The sensors can detect early on which plants are stressed. Often, by the time you can visually see that additional nitrogen is needed, it’s too late.”

ISA On-Farm Network’s 2007 stalk testing program confirmed that above-average rainfall can reduce yield from nitrogen loss.

“More than 30% of the fields we tested were low on nitrogen,” he says. “Growers were horrified by what they saw from aerial imagery and the stalk tests. They lost money because they didn’t have enough N for the crop. That really hurts at $5 corn. Growers have to do what they can to protect this high-value yield.”

The ISA On-Farm Network plans to conduct additional research with GreenSeeker technology in 2008. The research is being conducted with support from GreenSeeker manufacturer NTech Industries, Inc., along with its distributor, Redball, LLC.

Visit www.isafarmnet.com for more information on the ISA On-Farm Network. Visit www.greenseeker.com for more information on GreenSeeker.
 

Leave a Reply

Fertilizer Stories
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
Aerial view of the West Fertilizer explosion site
FertilizerFertilizer Companies Blame City For West, TX, Explosion
August 6, 2014
El Dorado Chemical Co. and CF Industries contend the city failed to properly train the first responders and had insufficient protocols in place to battle the April 17, 2013, blaze at West Fertilizer Co. that triggered the explosion. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute: New President, Renewed Energy
February 3, 2014
Chris Jahn relishes the opportunity to lead the organization through the challenging times ahead. Read More
FertilizerA New Cycle For Fertilizer Demand
January 2, 2014
Changes in the corn market could have a major impact on the crop nutrients sector in 2014, say experts. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires South Dakota Retailer
April 2, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Agribusiness Division, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed Read More
CropLife 100The McGregor Co. Closes Smith-Kem Acquisition
April 2, 2015
The McGregor Co. — ranked No. 16 on the CropLife 100 list of largest U.S. ag retailers — has completed Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Latest News
Industry NewsCHS Insurance Names New Director Of Sales
April 17, 2015
Bryan Lewis has been named director of sales for CHS Insurance, the nation’s largest agribusiness insurance broker and full-service insurance Read More
Mature Waterhemp in Corn
HerbicidesGenetic Literacy Project: There’s No Such Thing A…
April 17, 2015
Read the latest “analysis” on GMOs from Consumer Reports and you’ll “learn” that glyphosate, the chemical developed by Monsanto (its Read More
HerbicidesNew Resistance To 2,4-D Discovered In Australia
April 17, 2015
In a world-first case of herbicide resistance, researchers have confirmed that sowthistle weed in the south east of South Australia Read More
ManagementNews From RTP Company Visits and Growers Buying Older S…
April 16, 2015
Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss recent trips to the Research Triangle Park area and market seed sales trends. Read More
soybean field
StewardshipNew ASABE Standard Establishes Framework For Sustainabl…
April 16, 2015
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has initiated a project to develop a new standard to establish Read More
MicronutrientsSouthern States: An Inside Look At Our Tissue Sampling …
April 15, 2015
Remember learning about the food pyramid in school? The nutritional diagram recommends the proper amount of nutrients you need on Read More
Industry NewsArysta Adds New U.S. Fungicides Marketing Manager
April 15, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently hired Deneen Sebastian as its Marketing Manager for U.S. Row Crops, Fungicides. Most recently, Sebastian Read More
FungicidesVerdesian Launches Phosphite-Based Cereal Fungicide
April 14, 2015
A new, phosphite-based fungicide designed for improved suppression of deoxynivalenol (DON) in wheat and barley infected by Fusarium head blight Read More
Mature Waterhemp in Corn
HerbicidesSURVEY: Close To 90% Of Growers Battle Weed Resistance
April 14, 2015
Herbicide resistance management continues to be a priority for corn and soybean growers, and they’re working together more effectively to Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
StewardshipFMC Corp. Joins Sustainable Agriculture Alliance
April 14, 2015
FMC Corp. has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a multi-stakeholder initiative working to define, measure and Read More
Industry NewsArysta Adds Two To Goëmar Sales Team
April 14, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced two new additions to the Goëmar sales team: Steve Kelly, Technical Service Manager – Read More
Valley Variable Rate Irrigation
Precision AgVariable Rate Irrigation Gains Followers
April 14, 2015
Irrigation systems have had the ability to apply different amounts of water throughout a field for decades, using timers that Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Gr…
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsThree Ag Co-ops Poised For Possible Merger
April 13, 2015
Following months of study and preparations, the Board of Directors for United Farmers Coop (UFC), Farmers Elevator Cooperative (FEC) and Read More
Eric SfiligojAgriculture Braces For More Belt-Tightening
April 13, 2015
Spring is in full bloom across the U.S. and ag retailers and their grower-customers are busily getting into high gear. Read More
ManagementPollinator Health and Washington, DC
April 9, 2015
CropLife America’s Kellie Bray speaks with CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj regarding bee health and proposed Beltway regulations. Read More
InsecticidesValent Takes On MGK Insecticide Portfolio
April 9, 2015
As of April 1, Valent U.S.A. Corp. became the exclusive provider of the MGK crop protection line of insect control Read More