RFD IL Radio Network spoke to Scott Lay about getting the full value out of sidedress nitrogen applications. Below is an excerpt from their conversation.
RFD: Given the wet weather we had earlier this year, is there a question of how much nitrogen growers need to put on their fields?
Lay: The number of additional units of nitrogen needed–if any–is based on the amount of precipitation and type of environmental conditions growers have experienced since planting. Today, we have a number of nitrogen modeling tools that we can use to help make this determination, which makes it more of an exact science than it has been in the past.
RFD: Is this season a good example of why sidedressing can be a beneficial practice, as opposed to just putting out all of your nitrogen at planting?
Lay: I think that's the case. Mother Nature has thrown a few conditions at us this season that could lead to premature loss of nitrogen, begining with warmer-than-usual temperatures in February and early March and extending into planting season with excessive rains in some places. Warmer temperatures and / or exessive precipitation leads to greater levels of denitrification. Supplemental nitrogen, whether it's anhydrous ammonia or liquid UAN, is an application that can be both environmentally responsible and advantageous to a grower's bottom line. Raising more yield and creating additional bushels becomes really important in a year like 2017, and sidedress is a practice that can help contribute.
RFD: If you're going to apply a liquid sidedress application, what should you keep in mind?
Lay: For growers who will be using liquid UAN at sidedress, Loveland Products / Crop Production Services has a fertilizer biocatalyst technology called Accomplish LM that has been available for the past 6-7 years. We've done a lot of third-party research with universities and also many field comparison trials, and we've found that when that when Accomplish technology is used in combination with UAN at sidedress, we're able to get about a 6 bushel per acre response, on average. The critical piece is determining how many additional units of nitrogen need to be applied to meet a given yield goal, and then utilizing this technology to hold more of that nitrogen in a plant-available form so that you're getting the full value of those dollars you've spent on nitrogen.
RFD: When should growers sidedress? The forecast went dry in a hurry here, so knowing when to sidedress seems like an important question.
Lay: It is, and it's also important to step back and look at the nitrogen consumption pattern of a corn plant. Regardless of weather circumstances, we know that about 60% of the nitrogen consumed by a corn plant is consumed between V8-V10 through pollination and flowering. Applying supplemental nitrogen in advance of or during the late vegetative stages often leads to better utilization of nitrogen, which can lead to better yield.
RFD: So we're talking about helping people's yields and making environmental sense at that same time.
Lay: The objective for anyone engaged in production agriculture is to maximize yield and return. But we also have to recognize that when we have the opportunity to do so in a way that minimizes the amount of nitrogen loss, it's a win-win proposition.
Learn more about using Accomplish LM in a sidedress application by accessing our Sidedressing Nitrogen for Maximum Yields booklet.