Feed It When They Need It
With interest in split nitrogen application growing nationwide, we decided to make that a point of emphasis in our Innovation Farm trials this past summer. Our goal in all the plots was to achieve a level of 188 pounds of actual nitrogen, minimize nitrogen loss, and get the nitrogen to the growing plants when the bell curve says it needs it most.
Our applications ranged from 180 pounds of nitrogen in one pass in the fall through a range of different options, which included combinations of anhydrous, preplant, and sidedress application.
We’ve long felt that if we could move in the direction of applying nitrogen throughout the growing season, even if it was just putting on some nitrogen at the same time the farmer was applying crop protection chemicals, that uptake would be improved and loss reduced. It just makes sense. I like to eat, but if I eat all the food I’ll need for September and October in August, I’m not going to be looking too healthy when November rolls around. Your corn crop is no different.
With weather conditions this year, we were able to visually observe differences early in July, with some plots already showing nitrogen stress. Those of you who were able to attend our Innovation Farm tour had a chance to observe the nitrogen plots and see the differences for yourselves.
Once we have the yield results from these trials, they will be posted online and included in our plot books. This is the first year we’ve studied the effects of split nitrogen applications, and from what we’ve seen so far, it appears that our investment in application equipment capable of doing split application was wise.