Efficiency, productivity, and environmental responsibility. These three goals are chased by every individual or company in agriculture. One approach that helps growers obtain these goals is split-apply nitrogen.
When the total nitrogen requirement is furnished before planting or at time of planting, the nitrogen sits in the ground until the crop is mature enough to utilize it fully. This waiting period increases the opportunity for nitrogen loss; meaning investment lost, plant malnourishment and environmental concerns heightened.
The opportunity for nitrogen loss depends on many factors, including soil type and climate. For instance, in soil types that do not have a clay layer, fertilization loss is a very high risk because there is nothing holding the fertilizer at the root zone where it can be used by the plants.
If part of the nitrogen treatment is postponed, however, plants are better able to use the nutrients. Split-apply nitrogen fertilization applications can save money while also increasing yield per acre.
After making the decision to utilize a split-apply nitrogen plan, one must take into consideration the type of nitrogen to be used (granular, liquid and anhydrous), the timing of the different applications and the location of the application.
For forage crops, like corn, split apply nitrogen is most effective as it keeps the plant producing at its highest level throughout the growing season. Pre-plant application would result in high production early in the season, but dwindling production in the latter part of the season.
Growers can further enhance split-apply nitrogen applications by injecting the fertilizer into the soil. This reduces the risk of volitalization as loss to the air is drastically reduced when compared to a surface broadcast application.
When considering what type of equipment needed to complete split-apply nitrogen plans, remember that BLU-JET is the market leader in side dress injection applicators; BLU-JET has more years of experience and offers a longer frame warranty than competitive brands. Growers can increase their efficiency further by purchasing equipment that can handle multiple widths and applications. This allows the potential for custom application opportunities. The BLU-JET LandRunner 3, for example can do pre-plane, side-dress, RidgTill, or NoTill; the BLU-JET AT3000 can cover varying planter widths by simply folding the outer wings.