JenREES 2/6/22

Nitrogen Rate and Nitrogen Model Studies: One topic that has much discussion at winter meetings this year is nitrogen rates. I know many people did what they could to get fertilizer applied last fall. Yet for those who are still planning on applying spring and/or in-season nitrogen, there’s also much discussion about rates. This is one of our on-farm research focuses for this year: to compare nitrogen rates. We’ve done quite a bit of research with timings and inhibitors. I think there’s more to learn when it comes to rates. And, I think there’s opportunity for all of us to work together to learn more.

One option to study this is to compare full-length strips across the field of a grower rate to 50 lb +/- that rate (or if that’s too scary, 30 lb +/- that rate). For example, if the grower rate is 180 lb N on corn/corn ground, also comparing 230 lb N/ac and 130 lb/ac. I shared the data from 5 nitrogen rate/timing studies conducted in York/Hamilton counties in a previous blog post. The data showed in 4 of the 5 studies, no more than 7 bu/ac less yield with 50 lb less N/ac and in all 5 of the studies, no more than 7 bu/ac yield increase by adding 50 lb N/Ac. This was very interesting to the grower and has been interesting to others who have commented on the studies.

Example of study design with field-length strips

Another option for comparing rates is to use precision ag tools and compare what models such as Granular, Adapt N, Maize N recommend vs. a grower rate. Nitrogen ramps (varying nitrogen rate blocks of 50 lb N/ac differences) can also be included. That may sound complicated but is less so with precision technology using prescriptions and then harvesting using yield maps. These prescriptions could also be built by zones in the field comparing a grower rate vs. a nitrogen model rate if the grower preferred. There’s a number of ways to compare nitrogen rates. We just feel this is an excellent time to try some of these things. And, on-farm research provides a way to try this on a smaller number of acres before trying it larger scale on more acres.

Example of precision nitrogen study comparing grower rate to N model (Granular in this example) and nitrogen rate ramps
Example of comparing nitrogen rates using zones

There is also a financial stipend for trying precision nitrogen studies via a USDA grant that Nebraska on-farm research received. So, would encourage farmers, and crop consultants/ag industry professionals to consider working with a farmer(s) to try some of these in the future. To learn more, go to: For those interested in field scale nitrogen rate strips across your field, please contact me or your local Extension educator. And, if you’re interested in learning about the results of all the nitrogen studies from 2021, consider signing up for the on-farm research meeting in York on Feb. 17 at: GO.UNL.EDU/2022ONFARMRESEARCH.

Practical Cover Crop Management: I so appreciated Keith Berns sharing at our Practical Cover Crop meeting last Friday! The discussion and questions throughout that time is what I was hoping for with this meeting in all of us learning from each other and together. I’m not recording them and my goal with these meetings is the discussion/interaction/connections, so if you’d really like the information, it’d be most helpful to attend in person. This next meeting on Friday, Feb. 11 from 10-Noon at the 4-H Building in York will be on termination timing of cover crops, including planting green. I’ve asked a number of farmers to share their experiences as each does things slightly differently in their corn/soybeans with tillage practices, timing, herbicides/lack of. This is very informal with just discussion and please come with your questions and willingness to share as well! It is helpful for me to have RSVP at 402-362-5508 but I do allow for walk-ins.

Save the Date! Two newly scheduled upcoming meetings include an Estate Planning meeting in Seward at the Extension Office on March 8th at 1:30 p.m. Also, a small grain silage conference on March 17th at ENREC near Mead: HTTPS://GO.UNL.EDU/SILAGEFORBEEF2022.

About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on February 6, 2022, in JenREES Columns and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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