Check and Repair Your Nitrogen Levels

June 15, 2009 07:00 PM

Sara Muri, AgWeb Crops Online Editor
With the frequent rainstorms this spring, you're probably wondering how much of that pricey nitrogen is still present and ready to work.
David Vogt, a Missouri Pioneer agronomy and product specialist, provided the following information in this month's Walking Your Fields newsletter.
Factors that Affect N Loss
N Form: The type of N you applied to your field also affects how much you might lose. Ammonium sources, such as anhydrous ammonia, adhere to the soil and take longer to convert to nitrate, compared to other sources of N.
Timing: When you applied N can also influence the amount lost. The weather following application plays a large roll.
Soil Type: Soils with more clay content will have less loss due to leaching, compared to sandier, course soils. Additionally, soils with higher clay and organic matter will be more likely to nitrate loss through denitrification.
Runoff: If your soil start moving due to excessive rain or wind, your N will mostly likely travel with it.
How Much N Have You Lost?
The University of Nebraska estimates the amount of N lost by the soil temperature and number of days the soil stays saturated. Here's what their research shows:
Soil Temp (F) Days Saturated N loss (% of applied)

Ways to Correct N Deficiencies
Vogt listed the following ways to compensate for N loss:
  • Sidedress inject anhydrous ammonia or urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) solutions. Injection can be effective between every row or between every other row, and completed with cultivation equipment.
  • Surface dribble a UAN solution between corn rows or between alternating rows.
  • Broadcast dry granular urea, UAN solutions, granular ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate.
For More Information

You can e-mail Sara Muri at

This article appeared in the latest issue of AgWeb's Corn eNewsletter. To sign up for a free subscription, click here.

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