Weather Main Culprit In N Loss

The 2008 growing season will go down in the record books as one of the wettest in memory in the Midwest and growers suffered the consequences in the form of nitrogen (N) loss and lower yields.

In a survey of agronomists from Midwestern universities funded by AGROTAIN International, more than 80 percent of respondents ranked the season as wet or very wet. In a year also remembered for high fertilizer prices, weather conditions contributed to significant N deficiencies in corn and wheat.

The survey results included:

  • Three agronomists in 10 reported that at least one-half of the acres in their area lacked sufficient N.
  • Three-fourths of the agronomists ranked N inefficiency on those acres as slightly severe to very severe.
  • At least 90 percent of this inefficiency could be attributed to weather conditions, three-fourths of the agronomists agreed.
  • Fifty-three percent of the agronomists attributed the N loss to denitrification, while another 40 percent cite soil leaching.

One agronomist deemed that as much as 85 percent of the nitrogen loss in his area was due to volatilization. This would mean most of the nitrogen loss occurred before the fertilizer had even penetrated the soil.

“These numbers reveal that Midwest growers are losing a staggering percentage of the nitrogen they apply before it can benefit their crops,” says John Hassell, research and agronomic development manager for AGROTAIN International. “Even growers who apply the recommended rates of nitrogen are seeing reduced yields. Those who compensate by increasing nitrogen rates even higher have to deal with the added cost. Unfortunately, most growers don’t know there is a better approach.”

That approach, according to the company, is using one of its nitrogen stabilizers — AGROTAIN, AGROTAIN PLUS, and SuperU brands — developed for corn, wheat, and other major nitrogen-consuming crops. Visit to learn about the yield and environmental benefits of the practice.

(Source: AGROTAIN International)

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