Your day to day changes with the weather, and unfortunately, so does your cornfields’ nitrogen levels. With unpredictable weather conditions on the horizon for many farmers this year, there is greater chance of losing nitrogen from leaching, volatilization and denitrification.
Too much rain puts your nitrogen input at risk for leaching and denitrification. Both of these losses happen below ground.
“When fields receive too much rain, the nitrogen provided by fertilizer converts to nitrate,” says Michael Moechnig, Nutrient Maximizers field scientist, Corteva Agriscience. “Rain moves nitrate deeper into the soil, which makes it more difficult for corn roots to intercept the nitrogen.”
And if soils remain wet, the nitrate can convert to nitrogen gases like nitrous oxide. These gases escape from the soil quickly — resulting in a nitrogen loss of 5% for each day the soil remains wet.
Fortunately, there are minimal negative impacts to nitrogen during a drought as long as the nitrogen is properly incorporated into the soil.
“During dry conditions, crop growth is reduced, which reduces the demand for nitrogen,” Moechnig says. “Microbial activity within the soil also declines, which limits the conversion of nitrogen to other forms that are more susceptible to loss.”
However, if nitrogen fertilizer is applied to the soil surface and you are depending on rainfall for incorporation, the absence of rain can cause significant above-ground loss through volatilization. When nonstabilized nitrogen remains on the soil surface, 30% of the nitrogen can be lost in a single week.
“The best thing you can do to conserve nitrogen is incorporating it into the soil in a timely manner,” Moechnig says. “But regardless of your nitrogen application strategy, adding a nitrogen stabilizer can help ensure there will be greater quantities of nitrogen later in the season as the crop enters its reproductive phases of growth.”
The Corteva Agriscience Nutrient Maximizers business portfolio includes several tools that can help you manage nitrogen through adverse weather conditions. The portfolio features three proven nitrogen stabilizers designed to improve soil health and optimize nutrient management:
In addition to the nitrogen stabilizers, the portfolio includes Utrisha™ N nutrient efficiency optimizer. This new biological is a microbial nitrogen fixation solution, which naturally supplies crops nitrogen from the atmosphere to facilitate growth and optimize yield potential. Utrisha N is particularly beneficial in areas where heavy rainfall is a concern, as the active ingredient within the product cannot be removed or washed away. Utrisha N can make an excellent addition to a nutrient management program that includes a conventional nitrogen fertilizer and stabilizer.
Consult your local retailer or Corteva Agriscience representative to develop a nitrogen management plan that meets the needs of your fields this season.
Instinct NXTGEN®, PinnitMax® TG and Utrisha™ N nutrient efficiency optimizer are 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. Do not fall-apply anhydrous ammonia south of Highway 16 in the state of Illinois. Always read and follow label directions.
Find expert insights on agronomics, crop protection, farm operations and more.