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If conditions permit, there’s likely to be a lot of sidedressed nitrogen going on fields the rest of the month. Guy Swanson, developer of the Exactrix anhydrous delivery system, says that putting down nutrients at this time of the year can be your most cost-effective application, but there’s also a lot of risk involved if you don’t get them applied in time or properly.
Swanson provided us some of his best tips for sidedressing effectively.
1. While post sidedressing may be the preferred timing for corn to take in nutrients, he says the no-tiller who planned properly likely attempted to apply two-thirds of his nutrients pre-plant and only one-third post.
“Historically, what gave sidedressing a bad name was that you had to wait for corn to grow until it got big enough and then it rained and you couldn’t get the nutrients on,” Swanson says. “The risk is way too high and that’s why I advocate two-thirds pre-plant and one-third sidedress.
“If things don’t go right pre-plant, then you can shift some of that acreage and apply sidedress.”
2. When applying anhydrous ammonia (NH3) when plants are growing, Swanson says the hydrogen can ride directly into the plant’s roots and assimilate the NH4 directly, so you avoid the step to nitrate.
“The plant becomes a lot more efficient and you don’t store hydrogen in the soil,” he says. “The chances of lowering the pH of the soil is actually a lot less with sidedress because the nutrients…