Maximize Sidedress Nitrogen Applications

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With rising fertilizer costs and uncertain weather conditions it’s especially important to protect your customers’ sidedress nitrogen this season.

Fertilizer prices are on the rise this spring. The cost of UAN, for example, has nearly doubled since the start of the year. Knowing this, it’s an especially important time to help your customers make good nutrient management decisions and protect their investments.

Depending on your customers’ soil, they may decide to split up their nitrogen applications this season. For example: If they have wet and/or sandy soils, they may be more at risk for nitrogen loss. Applying some nitrogen in early spring and some at sidedress can help prevent those losses, benefiting ROI and the environment.

This year, dry and even drought conditions are also a concern for farmers in certain Midwest states. It’s a good idea to utilize split applications even in dry conditions to ensure nitrogen has a chance to be incorporated into the soil before being lost to volatilization.

Soil Test First

If you need to apply sidedress nitrogen this season, you’ll first want to test the soil to make sure you’re applying the right amount:

  • Test when corn is 6 to 12 inches tall, which is typically late May to early June.
  • Sample areas that are similar in texture and 10 to 20 acres in size.
  • Avoid sampling from previous fertilizer application bands.
  • Tests should consist of 15 to 20 cores per sample.


Applying the right amount of fertilizer will help ensure corn has the nutrients it needs when it needs them. This also will help avoid overapplying, which can waste money.

"It’s a good idea to utilize split applications even in dry conditions to ensure nitrogen has a chance to be incorporated into the soil before being lost to volatilization."

Apply Nitrogen on Time

For the best results, apply sidedress nitrogen sometime between the V3 and V6 stages.

It’s also advised to include a nitrogen stabilizer with sidedress applications. Weather is unpredictable, and events like heavy rains can increase nitrogen loss via leaching. Both N-Serve® and Instinct NXTGEN® nitrogen stabilizers work below ground where up to 70% of nitrogen loss occurs from leaching and denitrification.

For sidedress, you can use N-Serve to protect anhydrous ammonia and Instinct NXTGEN with UAN. Both solutions can extend nitrogen availability by up to eight weeks. N-Serve may be applied up to 30 days after planting and Instinct NXTGEN may be applied on up to V6 corn.

 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. Always read and follow label directions.


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