Demonstration: Slow Release Fertilizer
Herb and Aaron Steffen manage a 900-acre grain farm in southern Livingston and northern McLean counties. They hosted a demonstration and two nutrient use efficiency (NUE) trials.
The Steffens plant corn continuously on two-thirds of the acres and rotate planting of corn and soybeans on the rest of the land. Their minimum tillage practices leave at least 30% of the previous crops’ residue on the soil surface. This residue decreases soil erosion and feeds nutrients back to the soil.
They apply nitrogen after the corn plants emerge, when nutrient needs are the greatest. This minimizes nitrogen lost to air and water.
To maximize efficiency, farmers must select the right nutrient source. A controlled-release nitrogen source such as Koch Agronomic Service’s Agrotain® may offer benefits.
Agrotain® blocks the enzyme urease to prevent nitrogen loss, which begins the moment the farmer applies fertilizer or manure. Losses add up over time, decreasing profitability and increasing nitrogen’s potential to pollute. This product allows the crop to access the nitrogen it needs immediately, but controls losses in the first critical weeks after application.
This demonstration compared the effectiveness of urea verses Agrotain® at two different rates. It showed that Agrotain® increased yield by preventing some nitrogen loss.
However, harvest yield data showed that field moisture conditions more greatly influenced yield than the addition of nitrogen stabilizers.
Match fertilizer type to crop needs
Make nutrients available when crops need them
Keep nutrients where crops can use them
Match amount of fertilizer to crop needs