Agriculture in the World

Corn School: How much nitrogen is lost when applying in season?


How a lot fertilizer do farmers lose once they apply nitrogen in season? Is volatilization a major downside? May 4R nutrient administration and urease inhibitors assist?

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Corn College, College of Guelph researcher Josh Nasielski shares what he and his collaborators are studying about the easiest way to attenuate in-season losses utilizing a 4R nutrient administration framework — proper supply, fee, time and place.

In analysis plots at Ridgetown, Winchester, and Elora, Ont., six completely different 4R therapies are being in contrast utilizing a wide range of nitrogen charges. Therapies embody: urea broadcast with and with out a urease inhibitor; UAN floor streamed with and with out a urease inhibitor; and every supply (urea and UAN) injected at a 2-inch depth. Ammonia volatilization losses are measured utilizing the dosimeter methodology.

Nasielski notes that the primary pathway for nitrogen loss in-season in Ontario is volatilization. The objective of this analysis work is to measure volatilization throughout the completely different placement therapies and assist growers higher handle fertilizer nitrogen in corn.

Whereas ultimate conclusions should wait till yield knowledge is accessible after the 2022 harvest, Nasielski says there are already important insights obtainable from 2021 knowledge and what has been noticed to date this season. (Story continues after the video.)

At places in 2021, each injecting urea and UAN, and floor making use of them with an urease inhibitor, lowered losses in comparison with floor utility with no inhibitor. These decrease losses additionally translated into greater yields, together with an 11-bushel response to utilizing a urease inhibitor at Ridgetown.

For Nasielski, the analysis exhibits that inhibitors pays. The story, nonetheless, is completely different for growers who farm extra acidic soils. Right here growers can count on decrease losses from volatilization, which can not justify use of an inhibitor.

It’s essential to understand that Ontario soils are completely different than the Corn Belt and different elements of Canada, says Nasielski. Ontario tends to have greater ranges of calcium in its soil which might improve nitrogen losses. In comparison with what occurs within the U.S. Midwest and Quebec, volatilization is way more of an issue in Ontario.

“And even in Ontario it’s going to range,” says Nasielski. Analysis tendencies recommend that urease inhibitors will cut back losses, however the quantity is extremely variable. It actually does pay to check for soil pH and if growers are floor making use of, they actually do want to contemplate inhibitors, he provides.

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