Prepping Equipment for Fall Nitrogen Applications

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Anhydrous knife

If you’re making your own nitrogen application this fall, now is a great time to check over your equipment and make any necessary repairs. Taking a little bit of time now will help ensure you’re ready to roll as soon as the weather is right and the soil is fit for fall nitrogen.

Whether you apply anhydrous ammonia or liquid manure in the fall, Andrew Luzum, Nutrient Maximizer strategic account manager for Corteva Agriscience, has tips for application preparation.   

Anhydrous Application Prep

It’s probably been a while since you used your anhydrous ammonia applicator, so Luzum recommends looking over every piece of it very carefully. Look for signs of wear and tear and replace anything that looks broken or worn.  

You’ll want to pay extra attention to three smaller components — gaskets, hoses and valves — as these pieces can wear out easily for several reasons.  

“Sunlight, kinks and cuts can shorten hose life and leave soft spots that could break under pressure and put your safety at risk during application,” Luzum says. “Anhydrous ammonia can be a dangerous product when not handled correctly. By taking preventative measures, you can avoid safety issues and save time at application.”

He recommends making sure you have all necessary personal protective equipment ready to go in advance for your anhydrous applications so that you’re ready for applications when conditions are right. You can read more safety recommendations here.   

Additionally, Luzum advises calibrating your anhydrous application equipment: “I always recommend calibration with the first tank of the year. Anhydrous ammonia is such a costly input in today’s market; the last thing we want to do is unintentionally misapply.”

Liquid Manure Application Prep

When it comes to liquid manure applications — as with anhydrous ammonia — Luzum recommends taking out your application equipment, looking it over for any worn or broken parts, and calibrating it for proper application rates. Making these repairs now will save you headaches when it’s time to apply.  

Luzum says it’s also a good idea to do other prep work for liquid manure.  

“I recommend taking manure samples to know the analysis and amounts of each nutrient in the manure beforehand,” he says. “This measurement will help determine rates for your manure management plan and plan ahead if you need to make additional applications of any of the nutrients.”

Wait for the Right Time

Once you have your nitrogen application equipment prepped, it’s just a matter of waiting until the soil is fit to apply.

“Application of liquid manure and anhydrous ammonia should wait until soil temperatures are 50 degrees Fahrenheit and trending downward,” Luzum says. “That usually occurs in late October into early November. Warmer soils will drive nitrogen conversion and increase the risk of nitrogen loss. You also want to apply before the ground freezes so the nitrogen can get into the soil.”

Take steps to prepare ahead, wait for the right time to apply and plan to protect your nitrogen with a proven stabilizer to get the best possible return on your investment — and help keep excess nitrogen out of the environment.

The Value of Nitrogen Stabilizers

Nitrogen is one of the most expensive inputs each year, regardless of what is going on in the fertilizer market. Nitrogen stabilizers can help protect your fertilizer investment.

Anhydrous applications can be protected with N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer. N-Serve is powered by Optinyte® technology, which is shown to reduce nitrogen leaching and denitrification — and increase yield potential by an average of 7% when used with fall applications.1

Liquid manure also can be protected with a proven nitrogen stabilizer this fall. Instinct NXTGEN® nitrogen stabilizer is also powered by Optinyte technology and brings the same powerful protection to liquid manure that N-Serve brings to anhydrous ammonia.

And if you still have prepay funds with the TruChoice® offer, you can use those remaining dollars by investing in proven nitrogen stabilizers. See qualifying products here, and reach out to your local retailer to learn more.

1Wolt, J. D. 2004. A meta-evaluation of nitrapyrin agronomic and environmental effectiveness with emphasis on corn production in the Midwestern USA. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems. 69: 23–41. 

Instinct NXTGEN® is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Do not fall-apply anhydrous ammonia south of Highway 16 in the state of Illinois. Optinyte® is a registered active ingredient. Always read and follow label directions.


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