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Agronomy Talk


Implementing a Sound Nitrogen Plan for 2017

Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

With harvest underway, the 2016 season will be complete in the coming weeks. This is also the time of the year when fertilizer is being applied and decisions are being made for 2017. As we all know, nitrogen (N) is a critical component to high yields, and much of Iowa’s N is applied before a crop is ever planted. Late fall and spring applied N is a common practice and ensures that a portion of N is applied before planting. With current commodity prices, farmers are having to watch production costs and plan accordingly. Nitrogen is a vital, but expensive input, so having a good N plan can both help manage costs and maximize yield.

Multi-year and multi-location analysis from Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® found that the optimum N rate for corn after corn is 205 to 215 lb./A. and 185 to 195 lb./A. for corn after soybeans. These are great starting target rates that can help in deciding how much N should be applied in the fall or prior to planting. Split applications should be used whenever possible to ensure the crop will have adequate N throughout the season. Also, N stabilizers should be considered to limit the potential loss of N before there is an established corn crop.

Author: Wade Kent