Is Fall Nitrogen Still Around?

Apr 11, 2022

With all of the wet weather we have had lately, I have had many producers ask if the anhydrous that was applied last fall is still around, or how much N have we lost? The short answer to this question is yes, it is still close to where it was applied, and we have lost verry little N. The ground temperature has not been above 50 degrees since this NH3 has been applied. NH3 has not converted to nitrate to be leached deeper into the soil profile. We are currently around 40 degrees so the ground will need to warm up a little bit more before NH3 will begin to convert. We have had several wet days that have not allowed our fields to dry out, but we have not had any large rainfall events to wash Nitrates deep into our soil profile. The combination of these 2 scenarios leads me to believe that the nitrogen that has been applied is still relatively close to where it was applied last fall and has not converted to Nitrate N at this time to leach through the soil profile.

Nitrogen stabilizers were also applied to many acres of NH3 that were applied last fall to ensure that no conversion would take place, so this should help if we get a wet stretch as soils warm up to keep NH3 from converting, extending the days that nitrogen will start converting and help hold the N in our soil until the time that we need it for plant development and seed production to optimize yields.

I have also had a few conversations as to whether we should be applying a nitrogen stabilizer this spring, and yes there is a benefit to this addition as well. The addition of a nitrogen stabilizer will help extend the time that it will take the NH3 to convert this spring, allowing the N to be in the soil for a shorter time than if no stabilizer was used. This will help if we do run into a wet spell with substantial rainfall. The longer that we can keep nitrogen in a stable form in the soil the more available N we will have later in the plant's life to optimize kernel growth.