When it comes to crop nutrients, nitrogen (N) is often the first nutrient that comes to mind. Nitrogen has a clear positive corn yield response; however, making the N applications maximize profits can be more difficult. When apply any nutrient you should always follow the 4 R’s: Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, and Right Place. The combination of these 4 principles will provide the maximize return on your N investment.
Right Source: There are many sources of N available. When choosing your source of N consider: cost, timing, placement, and required equipment.
Right Rate: To apply the right rate of N you must the amount of N in the soil, the crop demands, and ultimately your yield goals. For corn following soybean, the traditional rule of thumb is about 1 lb of N per bushel of expected yield. For corn following either corn or wheat, the recommendation is equal to about 1.2 lbs of N per bushel.
Right Time: With the finicky nature of N, timing is critical. Understanding crop uptake, N loss risk, and field operation logistics should be taken into consideration. Use of a N stabilizer can increase the time the N is plant available [Factor for above-ground N application; Function for below-ground N application]. Research shows that 30-70% of the N you apply can be lost to volitalization, denitrification, or leaching. The use of a Nitrogen stabilizer will help keep the valuable Nitrogen you have purchased available to the plant.
Right Place: Nitrogen is extremely mobile in the soil, so placement is important. Placement will depend on the source of N and timing of the application.
When you apply these principals to your field you’re sure to maximize your ROI.