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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.

Is It OK To Move Forward With Fall Nitrogen Applications?

Oct 18, 2010

Question: There are a lot of farmers here who have already applied their fall nitrogen. Is it ok to move ahead with that?

Answer: The key is knowing your soil temperatures, prior to making fall nitrogen applications. You want those soils to drop down below 50 degrees F in order to minimize the risk of N loss through leaching, denitrification and volatilzation. Applying N when the soils are warmer is not a good practice for your fertility program or for the environment. Allow soil temperature to dictate N application because it also impacts the activity of the soil micro-organisms that are responsible for the conversion of ammonium to nitrate. Although it requires some patience this year for soil temperatures to reach the appropriate levels, your waiting will be rewarded as soil microbes continue to be active even below freezing temperatures.
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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