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Less is More: No-Tillers Weigh in on Nitrogen Management Methods

A survey of no-tillers uncovers a range of application and management practices — plus uses of precision data and cover crops — that help provide optimal crop yields and cut input costs in no-till operations.


Pictured Above: Doug Galloway from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville takes a Brix reading of white clover on September 9, 2017. The clover is a remnant perennial from prior years of drilled cover crop blends into a tame pasture

Nitrogen (N) management plans are about as variable as the timing and application options available to today’s no-till farmers. Not only is careful consideration given to the types and amounts of N applied, but the use of precision data gathering equipment also enables growers to gauge their success on the fly and take corrective actions as required.

Timing also involves not only in-season application adjustments, but the previous season’s results require decisions be made on the use and types of cover crops to serve as another N source.

Knowing how important proper N management is to both cash and forage crops, No-Till Farmer’s editors recently surveyed readers about their N management strategies, the results they’ve seen and any upcoming plans for 2018.

1. Side-by-Side Comparisons

I have made a couple of major changes over the years in nitrogen management. I moved toward sidedressing the majority of the N on corn as opposed to applying pre-plant urea both with and without Agrotain. I reduced my total N from 225 units to 170 to 190 units and began injecting the N instead of laying it on top.

I’ve observed better yields and fewer years of late season N deficiency symptoms.  I sidedress approximately 150 to 155 units with 32% UAN and average 35 to…

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Mark-mcneely1

Mark McNeely

Mark McNeely is the managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. His previous experience includes 25 years in industrial engine journalism and marketing. Mark holds an M.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. Contact Mark: mmcneely@lessitermedia.com

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