Wet Soil? Use Slow-Release N

Slow-release nitrogen is better for wet soil, reports a University of Missouri (MU) researcher.

The farm landscape can significantly influence how crops respond to different types of nitrogen fertilizer, says Doug Ludwig, University of Missouri soil science graduate student. He has studied nitrogen-use efficiency in corn at the MU Greenley Memorial Research Center, finding that slow-release fertilizers boosted yields in low-lying areas prone to pooling water, while conventional urea outperformed other fertilizers on well-drained farm soils.

With soaring fertilizer costs, maximizing nitrogen efficiency can add up to real savings for growers, Ludwig says. “The main thing this study is trying to determine is how efficiently nitrogen is used by the corn itself,” he explains. “Farmers want to know what they’re putting in and what they’re getting out financially, because that’s the biggest issue with all these rising costs.”

He compared how corn planted at various parts of the Greenley farm responded to four types of nitrogen fertilizer: conventional urea; urea with N-Serve, which inhibits denitrification; urea with a urease inhibitor, which reduces nitrogen lost to the air; and polymer-coated urea, a slow-release fertilizer.

“We looked at how these products performed in low-lying areas, sideslopes, and summit areas,” Ludwig says. “The biggest differences were between conventional and polymer-coated urea. On the summit, it was more cost-effective to use conventional urea, whereas in low-lying areas it was more cost-effective to use the slow-release fertilizer.”

In low-lying areas, the slow-release fertilizer outperformed conventional urea by about 20 bushels per acre, he says. “We saw a huge response in lower-lying areas — upwards of $80 per acre more in profit over the conventional urea.”

In well-drained areas, it was almost the reverse, he adds. “Conventional urea out-yielded polymer-coated by up to $50 bushels per acre because there was no loss to soil moisture.”

The results may help growers develop more efficient fertilizer management plans. For instance, the initial cost of slow-release fertilizer makes some growers think twice about using it, but selectively applying it in areas where it works better than other fertilizers will ultimately save money when corn yields are higher, Ludwig says.

“It costs more to apply, but it’s not something farmers are going to apply clear across the field as a blanket treatment. They would just apply it in certain areas where it works better,” he says. “For $10 or $12 per acre, farmers could go out with multi-bin spreader trucks and spread two to three products on the same field.”

Ludwig will repeat the study this year. He says the data eventually will help researchers develop a precision agriculture system using digital maps of farm fields and computer-based treatment recommendations that will help growers maximize fertilizer efficiency.

“Understanding how these products differ cost-wise is important, so farmers aren’t spending money using products that aren’t needed,” Ludwig says. “They will be glad they spent the extra money at the beginning getting the right products, when it maximizes their profits in the end.”

Leave a Reply

Latest News
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More