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Agronomy Update March 2020

Posted by Dave Dyson, Agronomist on March 20, 2020

The Andersons Agronomy Update: July 2018

By Dave Dyson, Agronomist

The weather so far in the spring of 2020 has not been cooperative with regard to total dry, productive days for fieldwork. The persistently soggy soil is reminiscent of the last few springs, where dry days become a dwindling resource. The NOAA is forecasting near or above-average temperatures with rainfall above normal through April, Figure 1. As a result, the spring season is looking to be compressed, with few days to complete fieldwork. With additional rainfall also comes an increased risk of nitrogen loss. 

Figure 1: Weather prediction maps from the NOAA, indicating warmer temperatures with increased rainfall throughout April.

As we have seen in the past few years, growers may plan on an application of anhydrous ammonia (NH3) pre-plant, but when the planting season gets compressed, UAN is usually their fall-back position. There are some logistic realities that play in favor of UAN over NH3. The first is the ability to plant directly after or before an application, but this is not the case with NH3. You should wait at least one week after applying NH3 before planting. This planting restriction can put a short window on the most important pass of the season, the planting pass. The ability to apply your season’s nitrogen needs with your herbicide on the same day as you plant can alleviate stress and the chance of crop injury. 

The increase in precipitation will increase the movement of nitrogen, and this movement can reduce the amount of nitrogen the plants can retrieve from the root zone. UltraMate® LQ is a mixture of humic and fulvic acid, and it can be added to an application of UAN. The addition of UltraMate LQ will complex the nitrogen molecule, increasing the nutrient use efficiency of the UAN in the root zone. It will surround the nitrogen molecule, Figure 2, protecting the free ammonia from leaving the application area. This can be beneficial in two ways:

  • The free ammonia will burn leaf tissue so we can reduce tissue burn with the addition of UltraMate LQ to a UAN application.  
  • With the increase in nutrient use efficiency, the nitrogen in the UAN application will stay in the root zone longer than a “naked” application.

Figure 2: This diagram shows how UltraMate LQ will surround the nitrogen molecule.

In an Ohio field trial, UltraMate LQ was applied with UAN and an herbicide. This was compared to UAN applied alone with an herbicide. Both treatments were applied pre-emerge on corn, Figure 3. A pre-sidedress nitrate test (PSNT) was performed in June, and the nitrogen which had been protected by UltraMate LQ was still available to the plant.

Figure 3: This PSNT performed in northwest Ohio shows when UltraMate LQ is applied with a UAN application, the nitrogen will last in the root zone longer.

In conclusion, the addition of UltraMate LQ at a rate of 1 gal/ac with a UAN application will prevent the nitrogen from leaving the root zone. Using UltraMate Zn at the same 1 gal/ac will prevent your nitrogen from leaving the root zone, and your crop will receive the benefits of zinc. If spring weather goes as predicted and time for fieldwork gets compressed, you can apply UAN and add UltraMate LQ or Zn to keep your nitrogen in the root zone. If you have questions, contact your representative from The Andersons.

By Jessica Stacy, Product Specialist

The Andersons conducts research trials to put our products to the test. UltraMate LQ has been tested for many years in different applications.

In the above trial, UltraMate LQ was applied at a rate of 1 gal/ac with 19-17-0 in a 2x2 placement at planting. The application of UltraMate resulted in an average yield increase of 4.7 bu/ac between trial sites in Ohio and Nebraska.

In the Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR) trials, UltraMate LQ was applied at a rate of 1 gal/ac with UAN at sidedress in Iowa and Illinois. At harvest, the treatment yielded a 7.9 bu/ac increase compared to UAN alone. This yield increase resulted in a $24.12 return on investment.


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©2020 The Andersons, Inc. All rights reserved. UltraMate LQ is a registered trademark of The Andersons, Inc. 

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