Time Nitrogen Delivery to Key Plant Growth Stages


Time Nitrogen Delivery to Key Plant Growth Stages

DuPont PioneerNitrogen (N) is essential to plant growth and grain fill, making it critical for growers to monitor soil N levels at key points during the growing season. Wet conditions in May and June have raised concerns that Rescue applications of N may be needed as this essential nutrient can easily be lost from the soil by leaching or denitrification with excess rainfall.

Growers should be evaluating how much N remains in the soil and if it will be enough to meet crop needs. A quick response to N-deficiency stress is often required to minimize yield loss.

Soil tests are one way to gauge nitrogen levels prior to an in-season application. Optical sensors can also be mounted on fertilizer application equipment, enabling on-the-go N sensing, rate calculation and application all at once. Aerial imagery and chlorophyll meters are also good tools to evaluate crop N needs. Several research studies show that rescue N applications are effective at recovering yield — as late as three weeks after pollination.

If N is found to be lacking in the plants and soil, growers have several decisions to make, including:

  • the type of N to apply
  • application method
  • timing
  • volume of N needed
  • need for a nitrification inhibitor

Pioneer agronomists estimate that farmers in the U.S. Corn Belt currently lose $50 to $60/acre as a result of nitrogen management inefficiencies — with much greater loses occurring in extreme climatic years. DuPont Pioneer will soon offer a Nitrogen Management Service in targeted corn production geographies. This advanced management solution will significantly narrow the nitrogen profit loss gap by giving farmers a new ability to plan, monitor and adapt nitrogen management practices to maximize profitability and improve environmental quality in the face of climatic uncertainty.

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7.1.2014