Each year, your customers consider many factors when deciding when nitrogen should be applied. Complicating the decision are those who call into question research data documenting the effectiveness of fall applications.
“There are a number of reasons why we do fall fertilizer applications,” says Eric Scherder, field scientist, Ph.D., Dow AgroSciences. “One consideration is infrastructure. If every farmer was forced to apply in the spring, we wouldn’t have the equipment or product available to meet the demand.”
Time and weather are also big factors since the number of days fit for fieldwork in the spring are usually limited. Another important factor from an economic perspective is that growers can often take advantage of more favorable fertilizer pricing in the fall, Scherder says.
Environmental concerns resulting from nitrate leaching and denitrification — regardless of whether nitrogen is fall- or spring-applied — also complicate the equation. Because all nitrogen sources are, by nature, very mobile and susceptible to loss, there are inherent risks.
“When considering fall fertilizer applications, there are certain nitrogen sources like liquid UAN that are probably not the right source for that time,” Scherder says. “A fall anhydrous application is more common, although risks still remain. Regardless of the form of nitrogen, we recommend growers use a nitrogen stabilizer such as N-Serve or Instinct II with fall nitrogen applications.”
Studies from Dow AgroSciences with N-Serve® and Instinct® II nitrogen stabilizers show soil nitrogen retention increased by 28 percent and nitrogen leaching decreased by almost 16 percent. N-Serve and Instinct II also have been proven to provide an average 7-bushel-per-acre increase compared with untreated acres by keeping more nitrogen in the root zone for crops to use.*
Regardless of whether Mother Nature shines favorably on fall applications or decides to halt things until next spring, maximizing profit by minimizing nitrogen loss and supporting sustainability by reducing nitrate loss should always be top of mind.
For more information about protecting fall-applied nitrogen, visit NitrogenStabilizers.com.
*Average 7-bushel yield return vs. nontreated acres from 2015 trials.