Delta growers hear importance of Nitrogen use efficiency in Midsouth

The importance of nitrogen use efficiency – ensuring plants get N when they need it most – was a key message delivered during a June 30 educational event at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, MS.

About 80 growers, retailers, and extension staff attended the event focused on results from the Center’s ongoing trials of ESN Smart Nitrogen with corn, cotton and soybean crops. Dr. Bobby Golden shared updates from his trials in a presentation titled ‘ESN Performance in the Midsouth’. Dr. Golden has been testing ESN efficacy for more than a decade, and said one of the most important attributes of the product is that it brings “a different mode of action to the field.” ESN’s unique polymer coating limits or reduces N loss due to denitrification or volatilization by releasing N when both moisture and soil temperature are at optimum levels.

“Nitrogen efficiency is poor in much of our Midsouth production system,” explained Dr. Golden. He added that more efficient equipment use and application technique is equally important where N uptake is concerned. “Just because we’re trying to inject (nitrogen) into the field doesn’t mean we’re doing the job.”

Dr. Golden said N use efficiency hits on average 30-59% for cotton and 54-79% for corn in the region. He proceeded to review ESN’s performance releasing N across southern soil conditions and crop varieties. With respect to irrigated cotton production, ESN was seen to positively impact yields in year-on-year studies. ESN yielded higher than or equal to urea in two out of three applications.

SmartFact: The Delta region produces 76% of all Mississippi crops … including 79% of the state’s soybeans.

With respect to soybeans, a two-year Mississippi study found that ESN yielded more than untreated plots by an average of 4.6 bushels / acre, with the greatest increase generally coming at the 40 lbs N / acre rate.

Dr. Golden also reviewed with attendees other beneficial roles of ESN. These include increased crop safety – like eliminating burn symptoms from top-dress applications.   Another key benefit of ESN is the potential for a reduced number of applications required, saving the grower fuel, equipment and labor costs.

The half-day session opened with Dr. Wayne Ebelhar, Mississippi State University Research Professor and Agronomist, detailing the Centre’s 100-plus years of agricultural research. The Delta Center comprises 4,700 acres – including 2,100 acres of trial plots for corn, soybeans, cotton and rice. The Delta Center, he said, has been home to many agricultural innovations, such as the parabolic subsoiler.

Kelly Dupont, an ESN marketing representative who covers the Delta region, said his grower customers have experienced very positive results with ESN’s controlled released feature, especially in light of the region’s above-average rainfall for the past three springs.