What is in this article?:
- Adapt-N tool calculates for weather extremes and soils
- Saturated soils speed denitrification
No farmer would accept 30-70% seed germination. Yet corn producers settle for getting 30-70% efficiency from nitrogen. Frustration with this great unknown and trying an alternative to "the way it is done," is why Iowa farmers Todd Thilges and Bill Palmersheim decided to try Adapt-N when their consultants suggested it.
"How much nitrogen to use has always been more of an old wive’s tale without really knowing what was needed or having any kind of test that gave an accurate answer," says Thilges.
"I shake my head at what some do, just because that's the way dad did it," says Palmersheim. "My thing is that until you've tried something, you don't know if it will be helpful. Even then, you still have to take the information and apply it to new situations."
Saturated soils speed denitrification
Existing standards for estimating denitrification rates are being revamped for Adapt-N recommendations. Spring soil nitrate samples collected by Adapt-N users suggest higher-than-expected losses in non-coarse soils. Traditional estimates for denitrification rates were based on several multi-year studies, none of which involved such an extremely wet year as 2013.
Coarse soils with their low denitrification rates lose N mostly through leaching, and recommendations for them were unaffected by the new information.
"We concluded that such losses were underestimated for medium- and fine-textured soils in cases of persistent wetness, as was experienced in several parts of the Adapt-N user area," reported the Adapt-N team. "In extreme wet years, the lack of oxygen is persistent and can temporarily deplete all nitrate in the soil."
(See http://bit.ly/15bb2Fy for details on Adapt-N.)
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