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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Soil Temperture and Nitrogen Application

When Anhydrous Ammonia is applied to the soil it grabs a hydrogen ion from water and becomes ammonium. ammonium attaches to the clay particles, but when temperatures are warm, bacteria begin to work on the NH4 and turn it into Nitrate. This is called nitrification. Nitrate is available to plants, but also moves with water in the soil down into the ground water and into tile water. When Anhydrous is applied when soil temperatures are above 55 degrees, nitrification occurs. If you apply on warm soil, you will lose nitrogen. I like to see anhydrous applied at 50 degrees just to allow for a little variability. To find out soil temperature, checking it yourself is best.   IN the fall always use nitrification inhibitor. 

Illinois State water survey tracks soil temperature, but not sure how close together their sample sites are.   Click here to see the site

A map from the site is below. 

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