Knowledge Center | Koch Agronomic Services
Knowledge Center | Koch Agronomic Services
Top 4 Tips When Planning Your Fall Nitrogen Application
Article Categories: Blog Icon BLOG, CANADA
Nitrogen management is essential to prevent nutrient loss, maximize yield potential and optimize economic return — it’s especially important when your nitrogen program includes a fall application.
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship logo overlaid on a corn crop

As you assess your needs and plan your fall nitrogen application program, keep these tips in mind to maximize yield and minimize loss.  

1. Apply at the Right Time

Nitrification is the conversion of ammonium to nitrate, making nitrogen more vulnerable to loss. The goal is to keep nitrogen in the ammonium form as long as possible.

Nitrification is a microbiological process that slows at lower soil temperatures. Delaying fall applications until the 4-inch soil temperature has fallen below 10 °C can help keep nitrogen in the ammonium form longer to minimize loss.

2. Select the Right Nitrogen Source

Urea is an option for fall applied nitrogen as the conversion of nitrate can slow when applied right before a freeze*. If a grower plans to shallow-band or broadcast urea, it’s highly encouraged to use AGROTAIN to treat their urea or SUPERU as a finished fertilizer product. If there are freezing and thawing conditions in the fall, growers can protect their applied nitrogen investment with an enhanced efficiency fertilizer.

3. Choose the Right Protection

A fall application can help save time, allow for flexibility in the spring and is more economical — but it also carries an increased risk of nitrogen loss. To protect a nutrient investment and boost efficiency, growers should utilize enhanced efficiency fertilizer (EEF) products such as:
• AGROTAIN®, a nitrogen stabilizer is a research-proven urease inhibitor that is backed by more than 20 years of real-world trials and research. It’s the urease inhibitor growers trust when it comes to urea or UAN protection.
• SUPERU® fertilizer, with a urease and nitrification inhibitor incorporated into a urea-based granule, SUPERU protects against below- and above- ground losses with flexible applications. This high-quality fertilizer includes a DCD concentration of 8,500 ppm and NPBT concentration of 600 ppm allowing for improved efficiency and protection.

4. Split Applications

Fall applications of nitrogen can help take pressure off spring field work, allowing for more timely planting. However, fall applications are subject to greater risk of loss due to abnormal weather. In addition to using EEFs, splitting the nitrogen application between fall and spring can also help reduce this risk of loss.

When it comes time to apply, remember that a sound nitrogen management system will lead to increased efficiency and profitability.

*Caution should be taken when applying on frozen ground or snow-covered soils where there is a heightened risk of nitrogen losses.

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