With so much riding on nitrogen (N), the Farm Journal Test Plots program, under the leadership of agronomists Ken Ferrie and Missy Bauer, continues to study timing, placement and delivery. Ferrie and Bauer are frequently asked about sidedressing with a coulter cart versus precision N placement such as 360 Y-Drop. Deciding where to place N—in the middle of the row with a coulter or next to the plant using Y-Drop—involves the following considerations:
- Pros with coulter: incorporation minimizes volatility of urea portion of UAN
- Cons with coulter: middle of the row placement results in slower uptake after application
- Pros of Y-Drop: places N closer to plant for more rapid uptake; extends application window by three growth stages due to coulter height limits
- Cons of Y-Drop: surface applied UAN is subject to a maximum volatility loss of 25% of applied N (UAN is 50% urea, max loss is 50% or urea); N applied via Y-Drop is more efficient so be careful not to put on too much.