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KIT UPGRADE. Using a bolt-on drop hose kit from Unverferth, Tim Recker’s nitrogen applicator bar puts down 12 gallons of liquid nitrogen on each side of the row 3-4 days before planting. “I used to spray ahead of planting and work it in with tillage, but now it’s laid on top with products to help get it into the soil,” Recker says. “I want that nitrogen right there for the corn as soon as I plant.” Photo: Michaela Paukner

Applicator Bar Precisely Places Nitrogen Ahead of No-Till Corn

Unique use of nitrogen applicator bar reduces nitrogen use to 0.7 units per bushel of corn without any yield loss

Running a nitrogen (N) applicator bar ahead of planting reduces Arlington, Iowa, no-tiller Tim Recker’s N use and increases his operational efficiency. Precise split applications of N allow Recker to put down just 0.7 units of N per bushel of corn and achieve yields averaging in the 225s.

“We’ve been doing no-till and cover crops for 10 years, and we see a 2% increase every year with no-till,” Recker says. “We haven’t gone backward compared to when we did full-width tillage. We can achieve high yield and high conservation.”

Recker and his brother farm 1,500 acres of corn, soybeans and seed corn. They’re typically a 50-50 rotation of corn and soybeans, with 100% of acres rotated every year. The Unverferth NutriMax 1400 applicator bar runs across all of their corn acres ideally 3-4 days before planting, a unique pre-plant use of the bar that helps prevent N loss and spoon-feed the crop.

“We can’t control Mother Nature, but we can control how much N we put on,” Recker says. “We’re getting smarter with the placement technology and the whole life cycle in the soil.”

Nitrogen Bar

The 40-foot, 14-row bar streams 32% N from a 1,400-gallon tank pulled behind the bar. Using a bolt-on drop hose kit from Unverferth, the bar puts down 12 gallons of liquid N on each side of the row next to where the planter will place the seed. 

“With technology, I’m able to plant right between that 6-inch ribbon,” Recker says. “I used to spray…

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Michaela paukner

Michaela Paukner

Michaela Paukner is the managing editor of No-Till Farmer, Strip-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies. Her previous journalism experience includes working as a reporter for a legal magazine and as a producer for two Wisconsin TV news stations. She has also worked with clients across the globe as a freelance writer and marketing consultant, and as a brand manager for a Wisconsin-based boutique marketing agency. She's a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

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