The Importance of Nitrogen for High Corn Yield | Corteva Agriscience
 6/7/2021

Retailer Ambassador David Nix Discusses the Importance of Nitrogen for Better Corn Yield

High Yield Corn

This month, we’d like to introduce you to Retailer Ambassador David Nix. David is the location manager at Nutrien Ag Solutions in Palmyra, Missouri. He’s been in the ag retail business since 1988.

Over his more than three-decade career, David has found his customers make his job great. “I enjoy dealing with my customers more than anything. American farmers are the best customers,” he says.

Advice for New Ag Retailers

David worries, however, about who will be there to help those farmers in the coming years. He tells us his biggest concern is about the future of the business: “the lack of young people coming into ag. It’s tough to get a start in ag if you don’t have help — if you don’t have family in the business.”

Knowing how difficult it can be to get started in agriculture, David says he likes to work with fellow retailers who are just beginning their careers.

“New retailers listen and learn from each grower. They are all different and require different needs,” David explains. “Put your growers’ needs first. Sell products that will work on their operation for them to be successful, not what makes the retailer the most money.”

"Put your growers' needs first."

David says the secret to his and his retail location’s success is that they provide customers with excellent service and sound agronomic advice and have a desire to help farmers grow as many bushels as possible. He explains that wanting to see your customers be successful will help make you successful.

Setting Farmers Up for Success

David tells us that, for many of his customers, success means growing high-yield corn year after year. “Guys are shooting for 200-plus bushels per acre all the time with the new hybrids,” he says.

And there is a key element corn needs to grow those 200-plus bushels.

“Nitrogen is one of the largest players in determining corn yield. You have to have the nitrogen, and you have to have it for the full growing season,” David explains. “We try to stress to our growers the nitrogen that’s there in April and May and June is nice, and the corn is green, but unless that nitrogen’s there in July and August and early September, you’re not getting the yield you want.”

"Nitrogen is one of the largest players in determining corn yield."

David says it’s especially important to have nitrogen available for the corn during the grain fill stage, which can last about two months. The plants can be very vulnerable to setbacks, such as extreme weather, during kernel development. With issues like drought in some areas and rain and storms in others, ensuring the corn has all the nutrients it needs can protect against some of those setbacks.

Keeping Nitrogen Available Longer

To help ensure nitrogen is there for the corn late into the season, David advises his customers use a stabilizer. His retail location sells mostly anhydrous ammonia, as well as some UAN. David says about 95% of the nitrogen they sell is stabilized with either N- Serve® or Instinct NXTGEN® nitrogen stabilizer.

“I try to explain the agronomics behind N-Serve and Instinct and what they’re doing to hold the nitrogen in place and why it’s going to stay there. It doesn’t matter if you put more in the soil. If it’s not stabilized below ground, it’s still going to leach,” David says.

David tells us some of his customers question the logic of using a stabilizer, especially when it comes to spring and sidedress applications. He says they don’t like the idea of an additional expense, particularly as fertilizer prices are rising.

However, with some fertilizer prices getting more expensive, it’s even more important to protect that nitrogen investment. In cases where his customers are skeptical about using a stabilizer, David will do side-by-side trials where he’ll stabilize half of a customer’s corn and leave the other half unstabilized. He says, more often than not, the farmer will see the benefit of the stabilizer. Sometimes it takes a few seasons for a farmer to fully appreciate the products, but not always.

“We have a no-till customer that likes to put on 75% of his UAN-32 at sidedress. We did some side by sides with and without Instinct. All it took was one year, and he could see the difference in his crop,” David says.

For many farmers, seeing is believing. Knowing this, David has made it a point to only recommend products and practices he believes in over his nearly 33-year career. Doing that has helped him — and his customers — find success.

To meet more of our retailer ambassadors and read about their experience, visit MaxFacts.

 

Instinct NXTGEN® is 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.

 

Meet a Retailer Ambassador

Name: David Nix
Retail Name: Nutrien Ag Solutions
Location: Palmyra, Missouri
Fun Fact: David farmed with his dad and uncle as a kid.
Hobbies: Golf, hiking, biking and traveling

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