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Warm winter raises nitrogen concerns this spring

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An Illinois agronomist is worried the warm winter could lead to nitrogen problems this growing season.

Pioneer field agronomist in west central Illinois, Matt Montgomery tells Brownfield…

“Nitrogen applications ran through a really warm spell, and I think people are going to want to watch and make sure that we’re not running just a little bit thin on nitrogen,” he says.

He says the use of nitrogen inhibitors, even in spring applications, are the best management practice…

“We don’t want to do things that increase nitrogen loads or increase nitrogen movement off of fields.”  He says, “We want to do things that help us maintain nitrogen, where we intend it to be applied, so that we can maintain those fertilizer freedoms in the future.”

Montgomery says there are ways farmers can check their pre-plant N levels…

“There’s an early spring nitrate test that we can do, and then I think just kind of wait and see and watch the crop and get a sense if you think you need to do something a little extra.”  He says,  “Sometimes that little extra can translate into maybe like 20 to 30 pounds of additional N.”

Montgomery says nitrogen loss increases significantly without the use of inhibitors in both fall and spring applications. 

Warm winter raises nitrogen concerns this spring