Protecting valuable nutrients this spring

An agronomist says higher input prices mean farmers need to take more steps to mitigate risk.  Tim Laatsch is the North American director of agronomy for Koch Agronomic Services.  “In this crop year, nitrogen is simply too valuable to lose,” he says. 

Laatsch says farmers can’t control the price of fertilizer or the weather, there are some variables they can control.  “Following the 4R framework, selecting high-efficiency nutrient sources, stabilizing nitrogen against losses,” he says.  “It also means placing nutrients where the plants are more likely to find them and timing those applications when the crop needs it most.”

He tells Brownfield for farmers who haven’t applied nitrogen yet… “More untreated nitrogen is simply the wrong economic answer and the wrong environmental answer,” he says.  “We really need to focus on protecting every pound of nitrogen we’re putting out there.”

Laatsch says if farmers are applying urea or UAN, to the soil surface of shallow incorporated, the main risk is volatilization loss.   “Farmers want to use a urease inhibitor like ANVOL,” he says.  If farmers are applying UAN or anhydrous ammonia, below the soil surface, especially earlier in the season, pre-plant, at-plant, or an early side-dress application, then CENTURO is a great option.  “It’s a nitrification inhibitor that holds nitrogen back as ammonium, and makes it less subject to losses related to denitrification and leaching,” he says.

AUDIO: Tim Laatsch, Koch Agronomic Services

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