How to Make Dollars and Sense of Your Nitrogen This Season
Heading into this growing season, grain prices are higher (2021 December corn futures price in March 2021 is up 22% YOY from $3.88/bu to $4.72/bu.˟), and growers will naturally be looking to capitalize on them. Some may be tempted to just put more nitrogen fertilizer down to get higher yields, but more unprotected nitrogen could mean more nitrogen loss and a lost investment with no yield advantage.
More Nitrogen is Not the Answer
All plants need nitrogen to grow, and crops demand varying levels of nitrogen throughout the growth cycle. Approximately 60 percent of total nitrogen uptake occurs between V6–VT. Nitrogen availability during V6 -VT is critical to optimize plant growth and yield potential. A theme found in research is the higher the nitrogen application rate, the higher the loss a grower can experience as a percent of the nitrogen applied. Simply put, applying excessive pounds of unprotected nitrogen can translate to additional losses.
To achieve optimal yields and be good stewards of the land, the 4R guidelines encourages growers to select the right source of fertilizer, apply it at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place. Thinking about nitrogen management plans through the lens of the 4Rs can help a grower more efficiently use their nitrogen investment.
“Urease and nitrification inhibitors are best management practices that enable growers to have confidence in using the right rate of nitrogen,” says Tim Laatsch, Koch Agronomic Services (Koch) director of agronomy, North America. “If you choose to just apply more nitrogen, you’re not reducing the risk of loss or keeping it where it needs to be longer — you’re just exposing more unprotected nitrogen to risk for loss.”
Jared Miller, master agronomist for MKC, agrees. After more than a decade working with growers in Kansas, he’s heard a lot of the rationale from growers for applying more pounds of nitrogen instead of making the investment to protect it.
“Some growers get stuck on cost when they should focus on performance, and performance is what you want right now,” Miller says. “You want to know that you’re getting the most out of every seed and every input you’re putting in your field to gain the most revenue you can from these higher grain prices.”
Hear more on Jared’s ‘Cost vs. Value’ perspective.
Solutions That Make Sense
Committed to creating long-term value for growers, Koch offers solutions to minimize applied nitrogen loss while optimizing yields.
ANVOL® nitrogen stabilizer delivers the longest-lasting urease inhibitor protection compared to NBPT alone, over a wider range of soil environments, making it ideal for spring applications. Featuring the patented active ingredient Duromide, ANVOL protects applied nitrogen against ammonia volatilization while also reducing overall labor demands.
Research studies prove ANVOL can provide positive yield results. Across a three-year study, with locations in Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee, urea-treated ANVOL resulted in a 31 bu/acre corn yield advantage over untreated urea.1 The research illustrates growers can optimize nitrogen rates when a nitrogen stabilizer is used. For example, urea treated with ANVOL at a rate of 180 lbs N/ac outperformed untreated urea at a rate of 240 lbs N/ac by 19 bu/acre.
So, economically, what can be gained by utilizing a nitrogen stabilizer versus just applying more nitrogen?
In this scenario, if a grower were to optimize their nitrogen rate from 240 lb N/ac to 180 lb N/acre, a 60-pound reduction, at a price of $0.45/lb of N, this would provide a cost savings of $27/acre. A grower would not only get the cost benefit of an optimized rate, but also the yield uplift of using ANVOL. In this case, the yield benefit was 19 bu/acre, and at an estimates corn price of $4.25 would result in an additional $23.25/acre. With an estimated price of ANVOL at $9.15/ac, in total, the grower in this scenario would see a profit uplift of $41.10/ac.˟˟
- Urea treated with ANVOL consistently resulted in higher yields starting at 60 lbs N/acre.
- Urea treated with ANVOL resulted in a 31 bu/acre average corn yield advantage over untreated urea.
- Based on sites responsive to nitrogen fertilizer and where losses to volatilization were a significant factor.
- Bars with the same letter are not significantly different (p<0.05).
SUPERU® premium fertilizer protects against all three forms of nitrogen loss and gives growers operational efficiencies. With uniform granule size, SUPERU is a ready-to-use stabilizer with the highest concentration of nitrogen available (46 percent) in a dry-finish urea fertilizer. SUPERU also provides operational efficiencies to save time with an even spread pattern while it guards against nitrogen loss.
CENTURO® nitrogen stabilizer helps growers meet their nutrient management needs by delivering below ground loss protection and optimized yields. CENTURO is a proven nitrification inhibitor for anhydrous ammonia and UAN that helps keep applied nitrogen in the ammonium form three times longer than without an inhibitor.3
To make the most sense of your dollars, contact a Koch representative today to find out how to protect nitrogen applications with ANVOL, SUPERU and CENTURO so they can work harder for a better bottom line.
The underlying data was provided by 1Virginia Tech, University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee, University of Illinois and Pike Ag, LLC; 2University of Missouri; 3based on third-party laboratory studies funded by Koch Agronomic Services; 4University of Nebraska, University of Missouri, and the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association under Research Trial Financial Support Agreements with Koch Agronomic Services, LLC. Results may vary based on a number of factors, including environmental conditions.
˟ Corn Futures Quotes – CME Group
˟˟ Values are for demonstrative purposes only. The price of ANVOL per acre may vary. Grower price is set at the sole discretion of the retailer. Corn price is based on Dec. 2021 futures price minus basis. Fertilizer prices is based on prices from March 2021.
The 4R approach is endorsed and supported by the International Plant Nutrition Institute, The Fertilizer Institute, The Canadian Fertilizer Institute and the International Fertilizer Industry Association.
CENTURO 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. Results may vary based on a number of factors, including environmental conditions. Improvements in nutrient use efficiency, yield and nitrate leaching may not be observed in all cases.
ANVOL, CENTURO and SUPERU are trademarks of Koch Agronomic Services, LLC. in the United States and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. Koch is a trademark of Koch Industries, Inc. ©2021 Koch Agronomic Services, LLC All rights reserved.