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Waterlogged corn raises questions about nitrogen loss

Waterlogged corn raises questions about nitrogen loss
Tools are available to help farmers think through nitrogen decisions after heavy rains.

If you've had corn fields saturated at one point or another within the past couple weeks, or perhaps they still are, the big question is: Is there enough N left to produce a decent crop?

Justin Petrosino, agronomist for Stewart Seeds, part of the Agronomy in Motion program, issues helpful advice in his recent Crop Flash report.

"The questions are is it still there? Can roots get to it?" he says. "Chances are if you used the best management practices of incorporating your N, using a stabilizer if it was applied early and sidedressing rather than putting it all up front, you still have a good amount of N.

Need N or not? There are several ways to determine if enough N has been lost here to justify more N application. Consider your options to get advice before deciding to apply.

"If this was the year you went all in with urea or anhydrous up front, without any sort of stabilizer, and cut rates you will want to continue to monitor your fields and possible add extra N."

Reports from the countryside say in some parts of Indiana, growers went with urea over the top of growing corn, applied before heavy rains. In most cases, however, it appears the urea was applied with Agrotain, a nitrogen stabilizer.

Related: Rush is on to get last nitrogen on corn

There are various tools to help you determine if you might need extra nitrogen. Petrosino suggests one offered by Climate Corporation. It's a computer based program based on data and past performance in similar situations.

"I would advise anyone worried about N to go to their website, and sign up for 250 free acres," he says.

"You can input your nitrogen applications, tillage practices, tile, yield goals and determine if you have enough N or if you may want to apply more."

It's a software program – it's not gospel, he notes. However, after using it a year ago he believes that while it isn't 100% accurate, it's a great tool for determining potential N loss. Consider it as an adviser, not as a program giving absolute recommendations, he insists. In the end, you make the call.

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