How much nitrogen does my corn actually need? This is a simple question with very complex answers! Traditionally, we’ve used a mass balance calculation assuming a nitrogen need of 1 lb nitrogen per bushel of corn yield. Nitrogen sources like manures, manure residual & legume contributions are factored in to calculate a fertilizer rate for our yield goal. But there are many other questions about nitrogen – what is the soil naturally supplying? Are my cover crops contributing to nitrogen fertility? I have several soil types – do I fertilize each the same? Should I make a flat rate application or a variable rate application? How are nitrogen loss pathways influencing use efficiency? How is this year’s weather influencing yield potential and nitrogen loss?
Nitrogen modeling can help you fine-tune nitrogen application rates on a field-by-field or sub-field level, allowing for all nitrogen sources to be accounted for, factoring active nitrogen loss pathways, and overlaying real-time weather data to calculate a fertilizer rate that is truly needed to meet crop needs. It’s a great tool to improve yields, increase overall nitrogen use efficiency and manage fertilizer costs!
Rosetree uses Adapt-N nitrogen modeling service, which is directly connected to your FieldAlytics account for easy access. Our agronomists enter the following data into the model to get the highest profitability from your nitrogen management program.
- Realistic Yield goal
- Soil Nitrate levels at the time of planting (top 12” and 12”-24”)
- Soil Ammonium levels at the time of planting (top 12” and 12”-24”)
- Hybrid Maturity Class
- Planting Date
- Tillage Method
- Rotational Information
- Current Year Manure Applications & Application Dates
- Historic Manure Applications
- Planned Fertilizer Applications & Application Dates
- Estimated Nitrogen Fertilizer Price ($/lb of N)
- Estimated Corn Price ($/bu)
The Adapt-N program will then import all relevant soil information and overlay weather data to calculate nitrogen uptake and loss. Users can modify inputs to see how different decisions on fertilizer source, placement, or timing affect crop uptake and loss.
Rosetree staff can provide modeling on a whole field level for those looking to make a flat-rate sidedress application or monitor nitrogen levels through the season. For farms looking to make variable rate applications, Adapt-N can provide variable rate recommendations based on sub-field management zones created in our Data Management Services.