Thinking bigger than nitrogen when planning crop fertility

When it comes to growing a high yielding crop, nitrogen can be one of most prominent nutrients for crop growth and yield potential.

However, like most things in the world — there simply can be too much of a good thing, and focusing solely on nitrogen is no different.

As Wes Anderson, vice president of agronomy at Croptimistic Technologies explains, “nitrogen has gotten a lot of the focus — especially with variable rate, because it’s been the big expense, and the nutrient we apply the most of.”

Proper nitrogen management requires an understanding of a fields’ needs as a whole, and balancing nitrogen applications accordingly. As Anderson explains, a holistic and precision approach to nitrogen management is key to getting the most out of a crop.

“You can’t look at each nutrient alone. You’ve really got to take a holistic viewpoint of the whole thing,” he notes, adding that one way to do this is through soil tests and tissue samples. This provides insight into a field’s overall nutrient status to guide nitrogen recommendations.

In addition to balancing nitrogen with other nutrients, application timing and methods must be considered. For example, Anderson says split applications allow for synchronizing nitrogen supply with crop demand. New technologies like variable rate and controlled release fertilizers can improve nitrogen use efficiency by placing it where and when it is needed.

Check out the full conversation between Anderson and RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney, below:

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