The 2008 growing season will go down in the record books as one of the wettest in memory in the Midwest and growers suffered the consequences in the form of nitrogen (N) loss and lower yields.

In a survey of agronomists from Midwestern universities funded by AGROTAIN International, more than 80% of respondents ranked the season as wet or very wet. In a year also remembered for high fertilizer prices, weather conditions contributed to significant N deficiencies in corn and wheat.

Three agronomists in 10 reported that at least one-half of the acres in their area lacked sufficient N. Three-fourths of the agronomists ranked N inefficiency on those acres as slightly severe to very severe. At least 90% of this inefficiency could be attributed to weather conditions, three-fourths of the agronomists agreed. Fifty-three percent of the agronomists attributed the N loss to denitrification, while another 40% cite soil leaching.

In one notable survey, an agronomist deemed that as much as 85% of the N loss in their area was due to volatilization. This would mean most of the N loss occurred before the fertilizer had even penetrated the soil.

“These numbers reveal that Midwest growers are losing a staggering percentage of the N they apply before it can benefit their crops,” says John Hassell, research and agronomic development manager for AGROTAIN International. “Even growers who apply the recommended rates of N are seeing reduced yields. Those who compensate by increasing N rates even higher have to deal with the added cost. Unfortunately, most growers don’t know there is a better approach.”

AGROTAIN, AGROTAIN PLUS and SuperU brands were developed for corn, wheat and other major N-consuming crops. Growers are urged to ask their retailers about fine-tuning their N applications to become more efficient with AGROTAIN in the 2009 season. They can also learn about the yield and environmental benefits of the practice at www.AGROTAIN.com.

The survey included agronomists from Iowa State University, University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, Ohio State University and Purdue University.