Nitrogen management is critical for growing healthy corn and farmers are sensitive to their role in helping build a more sustainable world. They are faced with the often-daunting question of whether fertilizer applications can be both profitable and sustainable. Often, the delicate balancing act begins with the decision of whether to apply N in fall or hold off until spring.
BMPs and the 4Rs
Corn producers understand there is no blanket practice. There is, however, a disciplined application approach that has long proven effective.
“When we talk about sustainability in agriculture, specifically as it relates to nutrient management, it really goes back to a foundation of best management practices (BMPs) in conjunction with the Fertilizer Institute’s 4R Program,” says Eric Scherder, field scientist, Ph.D., Dow AgroSciences, from Huxley, Iowa. “We can address some of the challenges we’re facing with nitrogen leaching and surface application runoff more effectively using this approach.”
As most growers are aware, the 4R program is a concept to help them select the right fertilizer source at the right rate, at the right time, with the right placement. While source, rate and placement are important, often the most scrutinized decision — both from an economic and sustainability standpoint — is timing. (more…)