Blog Series: Three Strategies to Better Manage Your Nitrogen in 2020

Nitrogen Strategy #3 – Take Better Care of Your N Investment

So far, we’ve covered how to use historical data to make better decisions and how to best plan your management strategy to fit your yield goals and application variables. However, as we all know, the best laid plans often need to shift due to wildcards such as drought, excessive moisture, hail, insects and disease. When the first seed is planted, there’s no telling what conditions it will experience throughout the growing season.

These variables, largely driven by unpredictable weather, make it essential to monitor N throughout the year. The chart below shows estimated soil nitrogen in the top 2 feet throughout the year for a given soil type (each line represents a different year and its weather). Each year the same applications are made (100 lbs N/ac before planting, 100 lbs N/ac as side dress). As you can see, there was a 60 lb N/ac swing at VT on the same soil type from one year to the next (dot represents VT each year). If this grower hadn’t adjusted his N plan in-season, he would have left thousands of dollars of yield potential on the table.

Same Field, Same N Source and Application, but Varying Nitrogen Needs.

Dealing with volatile weather can be hard, but to help you, the Granular Agronomy team of local Certified Service Agents partners with farmers to marry data science with deep agronomic education and hours of field work to produce prescriptions designed to meet a growers yield goals without over application of nitrogen. They are your source in-season to help answer questions such as:

  • What effect did that 4” rain have on my nitrogen levels?
  • How has a cooler season affected nitrogen uptake?

The Granular Agronomy Nitrogen model simulates out the effects caused by the interaction of weather, soils and management — providing a better understanding of the situation. This way, adjustments to the plans can be made with better knowledge than a simple hunch or guess.

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“In years like this, guys can’t afford to put too much out there, but they certainly can’t afford to put not enough out there. The Granular Agronomy platform allows me to craft a plan that puts both of those considerations into account. I recently got a couple of calls from some customers who had a major rain event. There’s the perennial question of where’s my nitrogen. The ability to have a platform that takes into account all the variables and provides actionable data that a grower can use to make better decisions is huge.”

Skip Hecox Granular Agronomy Certified Service Agent from Stapleton, Nebraska

Hear more from Skip here

In addition to protecting nitrogen in-season by adjusting yield target and application strategies, a nitrogen stabilizer such as N-Serve® and Instinct® is the best way to ensure your nitrogen is protected and locked in your Granular Agronomy nitrogen recommendation.

N-Serve and Instinct slow down the bacteria that converts ammonium to nitrate, keeping nitrogen in the ammonium form longer. That means it’s there when corn is ready for it — so the crop can reach its maximum yield potential.

Maximize any Nitrogen Source

Farmers can increase yield potential with N-Serve or Instinct on average by 7% with fall applications or 5.2% with spring applications.* To learn how you can pick the right nitrogen stabilizer for your farm and see both how you’re potentially losing without one and how it might benefit you in terms of profit, visit:

Thanks for following along as we’ve talked through all variables that go into successful nitrogen management. If you want to learn more about Granular Agronomy or any of our agronomic and financial tools, call us at 888-435-4726 or schedule a demo at

*‘Wolt, J.D. 2004. A meta-evaluation of nitrapyrin agronomic and environmental effectiveness with emphasis on corn production in the midwestern USA. Doi 10.1023/B:FRES.0000025287.52565.99

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