Critical Nitrogen Choices in a Hurry-to-Plant Spring

Corn at V5 stage

In this challenging spring, the planting window is tight. “Getting seed in the ground is the #1 priority, especially with corn,” said Matt Kurtz, Federated’s Rush City ag location manager. And nutrients are the next priority.

Applying and protecting N is critical, and when schedules are tight, a split side-dressing application plan that includes Factor® (a urease inhibitor) will protect the N on the soil surface for 10-14 days. Once planting is complete, the remainder of the N can be applied, at the V3 to V5, or 6-inch to knee-high corn.

“V5 is the stage where the greatest uptake of nitrogen of the corn plant begins (see photo),” said Kurtz. By completing the N application at that point, “we ensure that the nitrogen is placed in the right place at the right time for the corn to uptake it,” and increase yield potential.

Split applying N helps manage costs and also minimized the impact on the environment. And, since N is mobile in both soil and air, the split applications – with the addition of Factor to protect it – eliminates the question, “How much N did I lose when it rained?”

“Nitrogen (N) can be applied after planting via a tow-behind spreader, or by one of [Federated’s] John Deere hi-boys,” he said. The hi-boys are highly efficient machines that can cover a 90’ spread pattern with extreme accuracy, which means “less passes in a field than a 50’ tow-behind spreader meaning less run-down corn,” Kurtz added.

Talk to your Federated Agronomist to determine the best side-dressing options for your crops, including custom application by Federated. See the next article for details on Urea and AMS.