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Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Nitrogen

We are seeing some spring nitrogen application beginning.  There are a few concerns with applying nitrogen right now.

  • Are your soils dry enough?
  • Will it last until you need it?
If you are applying nitrogen to wet soils, you may be losing some because your slit is not closing well.  In addition, you may be creating compaction that will bite you if we have a dry summer. Wait until the soil is dry enough to do a good job.

Corn does not really need much nitrogen until it is nearing the reproduction stage.  Early applied nitrogen will start to nitrify as soil temperatures warm.  The process does not take long.  Once you have nitrogen in the NO3- (Nitrate) form, it can be leached or dentrified.  Both processes make it unavailable to the plant later in the season.  I think you should use nitrification inhibitors for early spring applications.  The question is, "Will it Pay?"  Maybe, maybe not, but it is a good practice environmentally and therefore pays off long term instead of short term.  This can be one of your strategies for the nutrient loss reduction program.  Keep it out of the Gulf.

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