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.