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Have your agronomic questions answered by a Farm Journal agronomist. E-mail us directly at, and we’ll respond on this blog to provide an interactive dialogue.

How Do I Know The Nitrogen Cycle Is Working In My Fields?

Apr 01, 2011

Question: What value is there to the nitrogen cycle you talk about, and how do I know it’s working in my fields?

Answer: Between 30% and 70% of the nitrogen we need to grow a corn crop can come from the soil when the nitrogen cycle is able to work efficiently—that’s roughly 3,000 to 6,000 lb. of inorganic nitrogen. Part of why farmers apply nitrogen is to stimulate the soil microbes to help with the process of accessing the nitrogen in soil. The soil microbes immobilize nitrogen and then it is mineralized back into the field. One way to ensure that the nitrogen cycle is able to conduct itself efficiently is to maintain proper soil pH, because the microbes have a narrow pH window they work within.  Please check out the following link to learn more about the nitrogen cycle and how to put it to work in your fields this season.

Nitrogen Cycle

This blog is provided as an interactive way for you to have your questions answered by our Farm Journal Agronomists. E-mail your nitrogen, soil fertility, soil density, planter set-up, scouting, and other questions to:
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