Saturday Special: Early Applications Begin in Central Iowa

April 27, 2013 10:14 AM


Iron rolled onto the field in Grundy County, Iowa this morning, and anhydrous applications are underway. Activity has been slow to start, but temperatures locally have been steadily increasing for a week, and a couple of good days of sunshine made conditions look pretty good for applying fertilizer this morning.

I spoke to a local grower who isn't so sure today is the day to knife-in anhydrous. He remarked, "I'd just as soon wait another day. I've been driving around the fields in my pickup and it's awful close. I just want to wait another day to be sure."waterintheway

Activity at the local coop has been brisk and nurse tanks are rolling out two at a time. But not all areas are ready. The work being done today is mostly by growers with more than 1,000 acres who have a lot of ground to cover in what could be a narrow window of sunshine. Low-lying areas are still wet, and while the top of the soil appears ready for tillage or knifing, just below the surface, the soil is still clumpy. This could cause problems as the knife-in may not fully close, allowing N to escape.


A smaller proportion of dry applications are also underway, although the vast majority of applications I have seen today are NH3. It may be a shade on the early side, but this year, growers have been furrowing more at the weather reports than in the soil. All expectations are for the next two days to be busy in central Iowa fields.

This level of activity has fueled upticks in nutrient pricing in Missouri, but these early applications in Iowa might have outrun the increases. Monday's Monitor Index may have quite the tale to tell, and could be an indication of things to come in the northern Belt.



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