Spring N: Build a Solid Foundation

As snow melts and temperatures rise, we start focusing on getting into the field. When it comes to your 2015 nitrogen (N) plan, we should begin with the end in mind – minimizing plant stress by managing nutrients as best as possible. We want to ensure we’re feeding the crop the right amount of N at the right time, but also that we’re optimizing inputs as much as possible – applying only what’s needed while using every pound of N applied.

  • Build a Solid Foundation: Your 2015 N applications should focus on building a strong foundation for your plants. Whether you apply N in the fall or spring, and no matter the form of nitrogen you use, make sure you have enough N to feed the crop through V8 to V10 so you can reassess your N needs for in-season application.
  • Keep an Eye on the Fuel Tank: As the season progresses, continue to monitor how much N is left in your field. Soil moisture throughout the profile, mineralization and immobilization, and plant uptake all play a role in how much N is left in the fuel tank. It is a hard thing to guess – that’s where 360 SOILSCAN can help with in-field, real-time soil nitrate readings.
  • Rotation Makes a Difference: As you make nitrogen decisions, remember that your crop rotation matters, because it impacts your carbon-nitrogen ratio. Soybean residue has a carbon-nitrogen ratio of 25 to 1. Whereas, a field with a corn-on-corn rotation can have a carbon-nitrogen ratio up to 60 to 1.These carbon-nitrogen ratios play a significant role in how you manage your nitrogen.
  • Ensure Plant Uptake: Give your N the best potential for plant uptake. Precision placement – as close to the stalk as possible – can help with N uptake and movement into the root zone. 360 Y-DROP places N within 2 to 3 in. from the stalk base and takes advantage of stem water to move N into the root base. Also, consider using a nitrogen stabilizer to protect your N from possible loss.

Work with your agronomist and advisers to build your spring, and full-year, N plan. If you’re interested in more tips for smarter N management, check out this blog.