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The potential for nitrogen loss in no-till presents you with both a problem and an opportunity, maintains Sam Ferguson, a customer agronomist with Dow AgroSciences in Omaha, Neb.
Yield responses to stabilized nitrogen in conservation tillage have been recorded across the Corn Belt for many years, says Ferguson. These yield responses have been accomplished in both continuous corn where crop residue levels are high and in corn following soybeans, where crop residue levels are low.
He says N-Serve research indicates that yield increases are generally higher in no-till than in other types of conservation tillage. As an example, Ferguson points to the results of 1,556 trials over a 13-year period in which the average corn yield response to stabilized nitrogen was 10.8 bushels per acre in no-till compared to only 7 bushels per acre under conventional tillage situations. But Ferguson stresses that no-tillers will not necessarily get a 10.8 bushel increase every time.
To understand how N-Serve works, it helps to recognize what happens when anhydrous ammonia is injected into the soil. When anhydrous is applied, it is rapidly converted to ammonia (NH4), which carries a positive charge. This positive charge causes…