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Update from the Field: One is the Loneliest Number…

Posted by Dave Dyson, Agronomist on January 29, 2019

This post may reference products and/or services only available to our Retail Farm Center customers. For more information contact your Territory Manager at The Andersons.

With good weather, wheat topdress is only four to six weeks away. While it’s common to use UAN, due to it being a great carrier of herbicides and other nutrients, it runs the risk of burning plant tissue as well as losing nitrogen to denitrification, leaching, or immobilization. We can combat the possibility of plant burn by adding water or using streamer nozzles; however, this does not help to stabilize the nitrogen in the cropping system. Including a nitrogen stabilizer when applying nitrogen is not only money wisely spent, but also a good 4R nutrient stewardship practice (figure 1).

Figure 1: The Andersons strives to comply with and promote the 4R nutrient stewardship process.

Humic acid based products can be a great way to stabilize UAN when topdressing your wheat crop. Humic acid will carbon chelate the UAN, preventing the free ammonia from both burning the delicate wheat tissue and leaving the cropping system through volatilization. Carbon chelation will help prevent the UAN from leaching into our lakes and river systems, too. An addition of one gallon per acre of UltraMate® LQ (figure 2) to your UAN solution will return dividends by keeping the nitrogen right where it was applied.

Figure 2: UltraMate LQ has 12% Humic Acid.

When applying UAN to wheat, zinc is a great companion to the spray. Zinc aids in the plant’s production of proteins, synthesis of enzymes, and in the overall growth regulation. These enzyme systems are essential for promoting certain metabolic reactions which are particularly critical in the early growth stages. Reduced hormone production in a zinc-deficient plant will cause shortening of internodes and stunted leaf growth. The Andersons’ Nulex® 15% zinc (figure 3) is highly compatible with UAN and will be quickly taken into the plant during wheat’s young stage. Zinc is not mobile within the plant, so deficiency symptoms first appear on the younger leaves. In soils with higher pH, zinc’s availability to the wheat crop can be decreased, leaving the crop deficient even if your soil test shows plenty of zinc in the soil.

Figure 3: Nulex 15% Zinc is very compatible with UAN and ATS, providing a safe and fast injection of zinc into your crop.

Don’t apply these two great products individually while topdressing your wheat; this seems very lonely. Why not combine the nitrogen stabilizing power of UltraMate LQ with the yield boosting power of Nulex 15% zinc by using UltraMate Zn, The Andersons’ brand new product that incorporates these products into one? At a one gallon per acre rate, UltraMate Zn will provide you with the carbon chelating protection of your nitrogen, while also giving your wheat one quart of Nulex 15% zinc. This product will be an excellent addition to both a topdress and sidedress program. Keeping nitrogen out of the environment and into our cropping systems should be on everyone’s priority list. It is a win on both the 4R and production side if we can boost your crop’s uptake of zinc in the process.


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David Dyson

Dave Dyson is a regional agronomist for The Andersons’ Farm Centers which are located throughout Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. He is an Indiana native and grew up on a dairy farm in Miami County. A graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Crop & Soil Science, Dave has a deep knowledge of various agronomic topics and is committed to helping growers improve their crops. If you have any questions, Dave can be reached at david_dyson@andersonsinc.com


Nulex and UltraMate are registered trademarks of The Andersons, Inc.

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