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Agronomist suggests sidedressing nitrogen this spring

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A late planting window can impact nitrogen applications.

Jim McDermott is a DEKALB Asgrow technical agronomist in northwest Iowa. McDermott talks about the impacts a late planting window can have on nitrogen applications. He suggests growers weigh their options before entering fields this spring.

“If we’re not allowed to put nitrogen on before planting, we have options to put nitrogen on after planting – as a liquid or sidedress nitrogen. I like that, especially in years where we do have to get planting later. We’ve got an option of having that nitrogen available to the crop later in the season,” McDermott said.

McDermott says growers expect a lot from single nitrogen applications. He makes note of tools used to prolong these such applications, like stabilizers. McDermott says growers might find it more efficient to apply nitrogen later in the season, when a crop needs it.

“Split apply is more efficient, as far as making nitrogen available when the crop starts to need it. Corn usually starts to require nitrogen around that V5 to V8 timeframe, but at a low level. If we can sidedress in that particular window, it gives a chance to put that nitrogen on before we get into the high use periods of the reproductive stage,” McDermott said.

McDermott suggests growers can receive the most bang for their buck with split pre-plant applications and a sidedress application during the growing season.

“If we’re in a corn-on-corn situation, we can easily see a 10 to 20% increase in yield. It doesn’t happen every year. It’s all dependent on the situation of the given field. Corn-on-corn and other situations where we have lighter soils, we tend to see bigger yield responses to some of those sidedress nitrogen applications,” McDermott said.