When thinking about any nitrogen applications, it is recommended growers start with the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship, right source, right rate, right time and right place. In the case of fall nitrogen applications, timing is critical. And that’s where Dr. Emerson Nafziger, professor emeritus of crop sciences at the University of Illinois, begins as well.
Right Time, Right Temperature
When asked about fall applications, Dr. Nafziger started the conversation with the importance of applying at the right time.
“The first thing to do to correctly apply fall anhydrous is to wait until soil temperatures are low enough to put it on,” says Dr. Nafziger. “Soil temperatures need to be below 50 °F. That's certainly the first big step.”
And although soil temperatures below 50 °F can slow nitrogen loss, it won’t stop the process. Dr. Nafziger adds that protecting your nitrogen is important.
“If we use an inhibitor in the fall, and this is widely recommended and widely done, they will minimize that loss,” he says. “There are lots of months between application and the time the plant's taking it up. So anything we can do to keep that nitrogen in a stable form and keep it in the soil is going to be an advantage.”
Besides keeping the nitrogen available for plant uptake, Dr. Nafziger says there can be economical and environmental consequences to not using an inhibitor.
“Growers gain by protecting their nitrogen,” says Dr. Naziger. “When in fact it keeps more of it there available for the crop, that's both an economic gain and for broader society, an environmental gain.”
An Illinois farmer agrees. Tim Laatsch is the director of agronomy for Koch Agronomic Services (Koch) in North America and has farmed for more than 20 years.
“Besides being a sound environmental practice, protecting applied nitrogen can be good for a farm’s bottom line as well,” Laatsch says. “As a grower, I have to focus on managing the factors that are in my control. Stabilizer technology affords me the opportunity to minimize nitrogen loss and make more efficient use of my nitrogen investment.
Selecting the Right Nitrogen Source and Protection
While anhydrous is the most common nitrogen source for fall applications, there is still a risk of nitrogen loss, so it’s best practice to utilize a nitrification inhibitor. A nitrification inhibitor can help slow the conversion of ammonium to nitrate, which is key to preventing nitrogen loss — ammonium will bind to the soil whereas nitrate can move with water and is prone to loss through leaching and denitrification.
In order to protect fall applied nitrogen, CENTURO® nitrogen stabilizer is a good choice to help keep it there. Protection from denitrification and leaching with CENTURO has proven to keep applied nitrogen in the ammonium form three times longer than without an inhibitor.1
Learn more about the Power of 3x
Pronitridine, the active ingredient found in CENTURO, works in the soil to protect a nitrogen investment. That extended window of protection will not only provide confidence that a nitrogen investment is protected, but also helps to provide a potential boost in nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) by up to 25 percent.2
In a study across three years in Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri, fall-applied CENTURO-treated ammonia increased corn yield by an average of 6 bu/A compared to untreated fall-applied ammonia. Spring-applied CENTURO treated ammonia also increased corn yield by an average of 6 bu/A compared to untreated spring-applied ammonia.2
To learn more about protecting a nitrogen investment and how implementing the 4Rs can benefit a grower’s operation this fall, contact your Koch representative today.
CENTURO is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state.
1The underlying data is based on third-party laboratory studies funded by Koch Agronomic Services; results may vary based on a number of factors, including environmental conditions. 2The underlying data was provided by University of Nebraska, University of Missouri, and the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association under Research Trial Financial Support Agreements with Koch Agronomic Services, LLC. Neither the universities or institutions, nor the individual researchers referenced, endorse or recommend any product or service. Improvements in nutrient use efficiency may not be observed in all cases. The data and material contained herein are provided for informational purposes only. No warranty, express or implied, is made including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, which are specifically excluded. Before use, consult the product packaging and labeling for information regarding the product's characteristics, uses, safety, efficacy, hazards and health effects.