Nutrient management is as important in fall as it is at planting.
Growers considering a fall anhydrous ammonia application can take measures to make the most out of their fertilizer investment, while supporting nitrogen management best practices, says Eric Scherder, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences.
“Nitrogen isn’t a one-time event,” Scherder says. “There has to be forethought about how to manage it today and tomorrow.”
Growers who are serious about reducing nitrate loss into groundwater can take steps when making fall applications. These steps include evaluating application methods, paying attention to temperature and using a nitrogen stabilizer to reduce nitrate loss due to leaching and denitrification.
Important Considerations Before Fall Application
There are best management practices growers can follow this fall to optimize fertilizer applications.
In the fall, let temperature drive timing. Fall nitrogen applications should be based on soil temperature, not calendar date, Scherder says. Wait to apply nitrogen until soil temperatures drop below 50 F.
“Nitrosomonas bacteria, which converts ammonium nitrogen to the nitrate form that’s susceptible to loss, are active until soils reach freezing temperatures; however, their activity is significantly reduced once soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees,” Scherder says. “This is important to consider when making fall applications to protect that investment.”
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