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Are You Applying Enough Nitrogen for Top Economic Corn Yields?

Are You Applying Enough Nitrogen for Top Economic Corn Yields?

Midwest farmer poll raises questions about why many are applying fairly low rates of nitrogen.

Even Brian Denning was surprised by the response to one of the questions asked at all of the Stewart Seed meetings this past winter. The meetings were held for farmers in Indiana, Ohio and part of Kentucky.

Farmers were asked a series of questions, and recorded their responses electronically. Some of the questions were suggested by Indiana Prairie Farmer in an attempt to determine what practices farmers were currently using.

Related: What Are Your Options For Nitrogen Application This Spring?

Pick reasonable rate: Sidedressing may give you a chance to better match N rate to yield potential.

Denning, an agronomist with the AIM Agronomy program for Stewart's, says that when polled, 40% of the farmers said they were applying 125 pounds of N per acre for corn. A few said they were only applying 100 pounds per acre.

Just under 15% were at 150 pounds per acre, and just over 15% said they apply 175 pounds of N per acre. Fewer percentages apply higher rates. In fact, fewer than one in 10 who responded to the poll at the meetings said they applied more than 175 pounds of N per acre. Only 3% were applying more than 225 pounds per acre.

Why was the number for such a large number of farmers who reported in so low? Denning says the desire to cut back on costs may be part of it. Nitrogen is a big part of the corn budget, and corn price is way down, especially when these questions were asked, compared to a year ago.

Related: Corn Nutrition, Nitrogen Use Varies Between Fields

There has also been some shift in prices for different forms of nitrogen. A year ago, urea was an economic choice, but the price has increased since then.

Another consideration could be confusion over what counts in total rate of N applied. Most experts say you only count actual N applied and don't include credit you're expecting from following a soybean crop. However, you do include any nitrogen applied with broadcast fertilizer or as starter fertilizer with the planter.


Looking for ways to maximize corn yield? We have a new free report - Maximize Corn Yield Potential. The 32-page report offers a range of insight into ways you can put more bushels in the bin.


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