Illinois farmers are urged to delay their fall anhydrous applications until the maximum daily soil temperature at the 4 inch depth is a stable 50 degrees.
According to the Council on Best Management Practices, applying anhydrous after the 50 degree soil temperature mark provides the best opportunity for the fertilizer you apply to remain in the soil for the spring crop and not be lost in any fall rains. This is important both for the farmer’s bottom line and for the preservation of the water in your area.
A nitrification inhibitor is also recommended to minimize Nitrogen (N) loss from leaching (movement with soil water) or denitrification (conversation of ammonium to nitrate in saturated soil by microbial activity.) Avoiding applying all of your N in the fall, and reserving some application for the spring will further ensure against lost N.
Given the below breakeven corn prices, making sure the inputs you paid for are actually present and available for your crop in the spring is imperative to the long term future of your farm.
Additionally, employing these best management practices moves the entire state forward in our pursuit of voluntary practices for farmers that address water quality standards in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.
Remember, something needs to happen on every acre in Illinois. Split applied nitrogen and following the above recommendations could be your first step.
What’s your strategy?