Wallaces Farmer

Be prepared for fall nitrogen applications

The window for fall anhydrous and liquid manure applications is often short. Make sure you're ready when it opens by preparing ahead of time with these tips.

4 Min Read
Nutrient Maximizers_1540x800.jpg
Submitted by Corteva Agriscience

The window for fall nitrogen applications is typically narrow. Taking steps ahead of time can help ensure you’re ready as soon as the weather is right and the soil is fit. 

Andrew Luzum, a Nutrient Maximizers strategic account manager for Corteva Agriscience, shares tips on how to prepare and apply fall anhydrous ammonia and liquid manure.

Anhydrous Ammonia Application Prep 

For anhydrous ammonia, Luzum recommends looking over your applicator carefully – particularly gaskets, hoses and valves – and replacing anything broken or worn.

“Sunlight, kinks and cuts can shorten hose life and leave soft spots that could break under pressure, putting your safety at risk,” Luzum says. “By taking preventive maintenance steps, you can avoid safety issues and save time at application.” 

Luzum says another tip to hit your application window is to have all personal protective equipment ready beforehand. Read more safety recommendations, here.   

Additionally, Luzum advises calibrating equipment: “I would always ensure calibration with the first tank. Anhydrous is costly in today’s market; the last thing we want to do is misapply. Nitrogen prices have risen drastically in the past 12 months, and it appears our fall input prices will still be close to record highs.”

And, because nitrogen fertilizer is rather expensive right now, Luzum recommends protecting fall anhydrous with N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer. N-Serve is powered by Optinyte® technology, which is shown to increase average corn yield by 7% when used with fall applications.1

Liquid Manure Application Prep 

For liquid manure applications, Luzum, again, recommends calibrating equipment and fixing any worn or broken parts.

“I also recommend taking manure samples to know the analysis and amounts of each nutrient beforehand,” he says. “This will help determine rates with your manure management plan and let you plan if you need to make additional applications of any nutrients.” 

Additionally, Luzum advises protecting liquid manure with a proven stabilizer. He says Instinct NXTGEN® nitrogen stabilizer — also powered by Optinyte technology — brings the same powerful protection to liquid manure that N-Serve brings to anhydrous. 

He says if you do use Instinct NXTGEN and plan to mix the stabilizer in the manure pit yourself, it’s a good idea to do the math on your application rate ahead of time too. 

“You do that by taking the number of gallons in the manure pit, dividing it by gallons of manure applied per acre, and then multiplying that number by the use rate of Instinct NXTGEN,” Luzum explains.

Here’s a look at that math problem, using a 1,000,000-gallon pit as an example.

Use rate of Instinct NXTGEN® nitrogen stabilizer

How many gallons of Instinct NXTGEN for 1,000,000-gal. pit at 4,500 gal./A?

24 oz./A

128 oz. = 1 gal.

Step 1: 1,000,000 gal. liquid manure ÷ 4,500 gal./A = 222 acres

Step 2: 222 acres x 24 oz./A = 5,333 oz.

Step 3: 5,333 oz. ÷ 128 oz./gal.

Result: 41 gal. of Instinct NXTGEN added to the manure pit

Wait for the Right Time 

Once you have your equipment prepped, it’s just a matter of waiting until the soil is fit to apply fall nitrogen.

“Wait until soil temperatures are 50 F and trending downward — that usually occurs in late October into early November,” Luzum says. “Warmer soils will drive nitrogen conversion and increase the risk of nitrogen loss. You also want to apply before the ground freezes so the nitrogen can get into the soil.” 

Luzum says preparing ahead, waiting for the right application conditions and using a proven stabilizer can all help get the best possible return on that investment.

Learn more about the benefits N-Serve and Instinct NXTGEN offer by visiting Nutrient Maximizers.com.  


1Wolt, J. D. 2004. A meta-evaluation of nitrapyrin agronomic and environmental effectiveness with emphasis on corn production in the Midwestern USA. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems. 69:23-41.

™ ® Trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. 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. © 2022 Corteva.  


Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like