cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Contributor

Re: Nutrient Management- Good morning and welcome!

Good morning from Moline, IL! This is Doug Felter, and I will be online from 8-10am Central this morning to address your questions on nutrient management. Thank you to those of you that have already posted questions, I will be responding to those very soon, as well as any others that come through.

 

Nutrients is the largest variable expense for corn production, and also offers opportunity to improve your profitability through a solid nutrient management plan that considers crop need, placement, and timing. At John Deere, we have a broad portfolio of solutions that work with any nutrient source and in any season, with the technologies to maximzie in field productivity and ultimately your bottom line.

 

 

0 Kudos
Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert - Nutrient Management

Great questions Kacey. I'll try to address each of these separately.

 

When do rescue nitrogen applications pay? How do you increase the odds of success?

 

Sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate. In 2015 for example, with a wet spring across many areas, the combined effects of wet weather leading to nitrate losses and the delay of crop establishment to utilize the nutrients left many fields with insufficient nitrogen to complete grain fill. If nitrogen is insufficient to support the yield potential of the crop, a recovery application should pay off. Choosing an application method and nitrogen source that maximizes crop uptake is key to ensuring success of the recovery application.

0 Kudos
Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert - Nutrient Management

 If you're looking to cut costs from your fertilizer program, what can be slashed without having consequences in following years?

 

Any nutrient program is really an ongoing monitoring program – it is necessary to assess the crop removal rates and in the case of nitrogen, how much has been released and made available by soil mineralization. At minimum it is necessary to replace what the crop removed to maintain soil fertility levels. It has been common practice to consider building soil fertility levels over time. But in times of low margin, taking a step back to replenish only the nutrients removed by the crop can save cost in the short term.

0 Kudos
Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert - Nutrient Management

Do split applications really pay?

 

Every year is different, but across multiple years the value of split applications is likely positive. The corn crop is utilizing nutrients throughout the growing season, with a large amount of that, up to 70% in the case of nitrogen, occurring after the V10 stage. Splitting the application can help minimize losses and maximize crop uptake of the nutrients that are there. A base rate applied pre plant ensures the crop gets off to a good start, but additional nitrogen for later use isn’t vulnerable to loss because it hasn’t been applied yet. Timing the additional nitrogen later in the cropping season ensures a well established crop that is ready to take up the nutrients at a rapid pace.

 

Another value of split applications is the ability to reassess the crop and nutrient levels mid season and adjust. In a split application nutrient management plan, it is important not to consider the second application to be a rescue application, but rather part of the plan all along.

 

There is of course the cost of the second application to consider, but when nutrient applications are timed to maximize plant uptake of the nutrients and minimize losses, application rates can be reduced due to the increased efficiency.

0 Kudos
Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert - Nutrient Management

How can cover crops be utilized within a nutrient management plan? What cover crop/mix would you recommend using to increase nutrient efficiency?

 

Cover crops have been gaining a lot of interest recently. Certainly one of the reasons to consider cover crops could be for their ability to scavenge unused nutrients and improve retention of them for future crops. But cover crops also help to protect the soil from erosion and improve soil health. Understanding your operation and your goals for the cover crop will impact not only the species selection, but also the time to establish that crop and how to terminate it. This management can be critical to the success off the cover crop, as mismanagement can instead begin to have negative effects.

 

There is an abundance of local research on cover crop species and management methods. I would recommend engaging with your local University Extension and your agronomist to understand what might fit your operation. Many growers are also doing their own tests to gain experience with cover crops.

0 Kudos
Contributor

Re: Nutrient Management

Utilizing UAN as a carrier for burndown is a fairly prevalent practice. From the UAN standpoint, there is no negative effect of putting herbicides in the mix, but the timing and placement could still impact losses of the N. From the herbicide standpoint, the effect of UAN as a carrier depends. Some herbicides see increased activity with UAN as a carrier, but others see reduced efficacy.

0 Kudos
Contributor

Re: Nutrient Management

The answer to that question is ‘it depends’. The key to making up for a product with a higher cost per pound is to get the crop to use more of it. So applying liquid N closer to the time of plan uptake certainly helps. Placement to minimize loss is still very key. Remember, NH3 is not limited to fall applications – it can be applied in the spring, over even in side dress applications. The John Deere 2510H is capable of applying side dress ammonia well into the season, with 30 inches of underframe clearance.

 

In some years and soil conditions, fall applied NH3 can be a very sound practice. But the amount of time that passes from application until crop use makes it potentially more vulnerable. It is truly a question with a different answer every year.

0 Kudos
Veteran Contributor

Re: Nutrient Management- Question

What tools should a farmer be using to determine how much N his crop needs? Are modeling systems, that take into account planting date, rain fall, etc. accurate enough to tell you how much nitrogen your crop needs for the rest of the year? Or is a tried-and-true method like soil sampling more reliable?

 

Farmers have a lot of data available to help with crop decisions. How can this data be used in the N decision making process?

0 Kudos
Contributor

Re: Nutrient Management

This practice has been prevalent for many years. From the nutrient standpoint it is safe practice since P&K aren’t vulnerable to losses. And it reduces one machine pass. One possible value to doing the applications annually is productivity. The volume of product applied is essentially doubled when applying for 2 crop seasons. If covering acres in a timely manner is a challenge, applying only the product for the coming seasons greatly reduced the downtime of filling and allows for covering more acres per day. In some operations, this may outweigh the cost of the extra pass.

 

Another consideration is the application method, which has typically been broadcast – in fact over 90% of these nutrients are still broadcast. Banding these nutrients is gaining favor, but studies indicate that these bands should be from 0-3” away from the crop row to add value. This requires a higher level of management to ensure the placement of 2 years of crops in the strip and to deal with the previous years crop row. Guidance solutions like RTK provide sub-inch, repeatable accuracy and can help manage this.

0 Kudos
Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert

Regardless of speed, managing downforce is critical to acheiving uniform emergence. What does increase with speed is the sensitivity of the downforce. As speed increases so do the forces that act on the row unit, which can in some cases increase the amount of applied downforce necesary to maintain good soil contact.

0 Kudos