The annual Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) On-Farm Network Nitrogen Conference will take place Feb. 22, 2006, at the Airport Holiday Inn, 6111 Fleur Drive, in Des Moines. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and the first session will start at 9 a.m. For those who register and pay before Feb. 1, 2006, there will be a $45 advance registration fee, which will include conference materials and lunch. For those registering after Feb. 1 or paying at the door the fee will be $65.

Tracy Blackmer, ISA director of research, says a number of participating growers have found they can cut nitrogen rates by 50 lbs./acre or more without reducing nitrogen (N) yields. The Nitrogen Conference will feature information from some of these growers, summaries of the more than 200 N and manure management strip trial studies conducted in 2005, and discussions on how these relate to similar studies from previous years. A few of the topics of discussion are:

Fall anhydrous vs. spring applied nitrogen. Participating growers established trials in the fall of 2004 by applying anhydrous ammonia at their normal N rate in strips across fields where they intended to plant corn in the spring. They followed this with their choice of either preplant or sidedressed applications of whatever form of N they wanted to use, at the same rate as the fall anhydrous. A second set of strips allowed growers to compare yields from spring or sidedressed nitrogen at their normal rates and normal minus 50 lbs. Preliminary results are mixed, with some growers reporting yields from fall anhydrous were as good, or almost as good, as pre-plant nitrogen. Yield data for these trials are still being analyzed.

Nitrogen availability from manure. Replicated strip tests on three different farms in ISA’s West Buttrick Creek Watershed program, Greene County, compared yields where injected liquid hog manure was spring-applied with yields from strips with varied rates of commercial N fertilizer. Observations suggest the manured strips may have benefited early from the tillage effect where manure was injected between the rows. Data are still being analyzed for these trials.

Stalk nitrate analysis from low nitrogen rate fields. In 2005, about 100 farmers from across the state agreed to apply less than 100 lbs. of N/acre on whole fields. Aerial imagery was collected on these fields near the end of the growing season. This was used to identify specific areas within those fields to collect stalk samples that might be low, about right, or high in nitrates. Results will be summarized, along with observations from some of the participants.

Statewide stalk test results. More than 4,000 stalk samples, taken from all 99 Iowa counties, were analyzed at the Iowa State University testing lab this fall. Preliminary results are posted at http://www.isafarmnet.com/agronstudies/stalksamples.html. Final results will be summarized and conclusions presented.

Managing nitrogen and manure in light of government programs. Nutrient management figures into qualification for NRCS programs like the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and Conservation Security Program (CSP). Blackmer and others will update growers on details of these programs.

You can register for the conference by mail, telephone or online. To register for the conference online, go to www.iasoybeans.com or www.isafarmnet.com and click on On-Farm Network 2006 Nitrogen Conference in the “What’s New” or “New” sections.

To register by mail, send your name, address, phone number and registration fee to: 2006 Nitrogen Conference, Iowa Soybean Association, 4554 114th Street, Urbandale, IA 50322-5410. By telephone, call 800-383-1423 and ask for extension 233. Registrants who participated in any of the On-Farm Network programs during 2005 will not be charged a fee for the conference.