The goal of timing nitrogen (N) applications to corn is to supply adequate N when the crop needs it, without supplying excess that potentially can be lost.

Because N reactions in the soil are closely linked to both temperature and moisture conditions, this goal often is hard to achieve. Its importance, however, cannot be overstated.

If corn is deficient in N during its rapid vegetative growth phase, yield losses are inevitable. On the other hand, oversupply of this expensive crop input reduces profits and harms the environment.

Applying N at multiple times, including the time of maximum crop uptake, can spread the risk of N loss and crop deficiency, improve profitability by reducing N rates and benefit the environment.

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