The harvest of 2018 was challenging in many corn and soybean growing areas in North America. In some areas, weather conditions pushed corn and soybean harvest into 2019 and prevented fall fertilizer application.
Estimates range from 60% to 70% of those acres where fall anhydrous ammonia application is common practice did not receive this application, shifting nitrogen applications into this spring.
Where anhydrous ammonia is yet to be applied, consider the following practices to optimize nitrogen efficiency and avoid crop injury:
1. Sufficient depth (6-8 inch min.) and proper soil conditions for band sealing.
2. Adjust planting time. There is no magic number of days to wait to avoid injury; time will help, but won’t prevent injury. Avoid planting directly over ammonia bands. Use GPS to offset planter rows 4-6 inches or more from ammonia injection bands.
3. Apply anhydrous ammonia at an angle to crop rows to avoid row-length exposure.
4. Reduce rate and schedule a post application of nitrogen. Keep injection deep.
5. Delay anhydrous ammonia application until side-dress.
6. Substitute ESN for part or all of the anhydrous ammonia to reduce crop injury risk and save application time.
The replicated strip-trial results below from three Kentucky site-years show how ESN can be used in combination with anhydrous ammonia. ESN treatments were applied as a top-dress either as a blend of 75% ESN and 25% urea or as ESN following fall-banded ammonia. ESN may also be applied before or at planting for single-application nitrogen management. Applying part or all of the nitrogen in spring or at side-dress improves nitrogen use efficiency and crop yields.
To see more trials where your farm is located, visit our local crop results.
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