Wallaces Farmer

Danny Leckie, Soil Health Product Manager for Corteva Agriscience, provides sidedress best practices for anhydrous ammonia.


Depending on what this spring has been like in your area, you may have decided sidedress fertilizer applications will be needed. Sidedress applications are often necessary if the weather is not cooperative for a preplant spring fertilizer application. For example: If there is too much rain, or if the soil is too wet, nitrogen will be extremely vulnerable to leaching if applied. In addition, you may simply prefer a split application: applying some of your nitrogen preplant and then again during sidedress, which is typically around the late May to early June time frame. 

When done correctly, sidedress can help ensure proper nutrition for corn precisely when the plants need it most.

The process is also recommended as part of  The Fertilizer Institute’s Nutrient Stewardship program

While sidedress is a great practice, it’s also a complicated one, particularly when it comes to anhydrous ammonia. Corteva Agriscience Soil Health Product Manager Danny Leckie has advice can that can serve as a guide for you this season.

First: Test the Soil

According to Leckie, a pre-sidedress soil test is essential to make sure you apply only the necessary nitrogen to the corn crop.

Leckie says these are some good rules of thumb to follow:

  • Test when corn is 6 to 12 inches tall (typically late May to early June).

  • Sample areas that are similar in texture and 10 to 20 acres in size.

  • Avoid sampling from previous fertilizer application bands.

  • Tests should consist of 15 to 20 cores per sample.

Second: Apply at the Right Time, the Right Way

Leckie says you’ll want to perform applications prior to V9 to ensure the best uptake for corn. Applying from V4 to V6 is ideal.

Anhydrous ammonia can be easily lost if soil conditions aren’t right and/or application isn’t precise. So, when knifing anhydrous into the soil, he says to make sure to fully close the openings to keep it from escaping. Make sure soil is not damp or clumpy when applying anhydrous.

Last: Protect Sidedress Anhydrous

Last, but certainly not least, Leckie advises protecting sidedress fertilizer applications with a nitrogen stabilizer. Anhydrous ammonia is immediately vulnerable to loss through leaching and denitrification. N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer will protect it.

Visit NitrogenMaximizers.com to learn how N-Serve works to keep nitrogen in the root zone.

™ ® Trademarks of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont or Pioneer, and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. Do not fall-apply anhydrous ammonia south of Highway 16 in the state of Illinois. Always read and follow label directions. © 2020 Corteva.

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