Thursday, December 06, 2012

Illinois: First Results from Soil Nitrogen Monitoring Project

AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source


The first results from a project to sample soil this fall to see how the dry growing season and low corn yields affected nitrogen levels are now available, said University of Illinois crop sciences professor Emerson Nafziger.

One of the reasons for conducting the study was to see how much nitrogen is in the soil now to estimate the likely nitrogen loss over the winter and early spring.

i

“November was relatively dry in Illinois, and there have been few reports of tile lines running,” he said. “Now that soils have cooled down, the nitrogen, mostly in the form of nitrate, that is in fields most likely will stay in the soil until and unless tile lines run, when we can expect some of it to exit in tile drainage water.”

The second reason was to estimate how much nitrogen is available to next year’s crop, especially if corn is planted in the same fields.

“It’s typical for some loss to take place if we have normal precipitation from fall to early spring, but if this winter is dry, some of the nitrogen there now should be available for next year’s crop,” Nafziger explained. “We can’t know how much will be there in the spring without taking soil samples at that time, preferably close to planting.”

Many people volunteered to take samples. Participants were asked to take 0- to 1-foot and 1- to 2-foot samples at a single site. Site information, including how much nitrogen had been applied in 2012 and what the yield was, was sent with the samples, which were tested for both nitrate and ammonium. About 130 sites have been sampled to date in the U of I part of this project.

Nearly all of the samples were taken following corn in 2012, many from fields where 2012 yields were low due to dry weather. Previous sampling work, while not as comprehensive as this study, has typically shown nitrate-N levels of less than 10 ppm.

Although a large number of samples came from central Illinois, there was a good distribution from east to west. Average nitrate-N levels in the top foot of soil were 26, 16, and 18 ppm in northern, central, and southern Illinois, respectively, and ranged from near zero to 89 ppm. The 89 ppm sample, from a field in the northern part of the state with a reported yield of 175 bushels per acre, was the only one with a value above 50 ppm and is probably an outlier.

The data from the sampled fields reflect the dry growing conditions over much of the state in 2012. Some of the fields in southern Illinois yielded little or nothing, while several fields in central and northern Illinois yielded from 180 to 200 bushels per acre.

Average nitrate-N levels in the 12- to 24-inch samples were 16, 12, and 18 ppm in northern, central, and southern Illinois, respectively. These values are as high as those in the top foot of soil in southern Illinois and not much less than in the top foot in central Illinois.

The weighted average of nitrate-N in the top 2 feet of all fields sampled was 136 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Nafziger said that, while the sampled fields probably do not accurately represent all fields in Illinois, 12 million acres of corn with 136 pounds of nitrogen in the top 2 feet indicates that some 800,000 tons of “labile” (able to move and be taken up by plants) nitrogen are in Illinois fields now.

As expected when water limits yields, the amount of nitrogen used in a field did not seem to affect its corn yield. A few fields with very high nitrogen rates had low yields. The association between the amount of nitrogen applied and the amount present in the fall was, however, not strong. Low yields were not associated with high amounts of leftover nitrogen.

Finally, nitrogen removal in the grain was estimated by subtracting 0.75 pounds of nitrogen per bushel from the amount of nitrogen applied as fertilizer. The results were not helpful for predicting the amount of remaining nitrogen.

How can it be that the combination of low yields due to dry conditions and high application rates of nitrogen fertilizer seem unrelated to the amount of soil nitrogen found after the season?

“This shows how complex the nitrogen interactions are in the soil,” Nafziger said. “In a year such as 2012, there is little nitrogen loss, uptake ends early as the crop stops taking up water, and fall rainfall can produce new flushes of mineralized nitrogen long after crop uptake stops. We think that soil moisture was the main factor determining both yield and the amount of nitrogen in the soil and that these two factors had independent effects in the tough year that was 2012.”

Nafziger hopes that fields sampled this fall can be sampled in the spring of 2013 to see how much nitrogen remains. Where corn in 2013 will follow corn in 2012, nitrate-N present at planting should be available to the 2013 crop unless high loss conditions prevail after planting.

Tags: , ,


Leave a Reply

Name and Email Address are required fields. Your email will not be published or shared with third parties.

Sunbelt Ag News

    Sierra County, New Mexico Added to Natural Disaster List4-23

    DTN Livestock Midday: Hog Futures Surge Higher4-23

    DTN Grain Midday: Corn, Wheat Climb Higher4-23

    DTN Cotton Open: Tumbles in Most-Active July4-23

    Senate Expected to Pass Upcoming Tax-Extenders Bill – DTN (Updated)4-23

    Exploring Key Elements in Succession Planning — DTN4-23

    DTN Livestock Open: Lower Start for Lean Hogs4-23

    DTN Grain Open: Soybeans Sink, Pull Others Down4-23

    Keith Good: Are Grain Producers Braced for Downturn?; El Nino in July?4-23

    Grain TV: Upward Trend Lines Unbroken4-22

    Doane Cotton Close: Futures Continue Slow, Steady Ascent4-22

    DTN Livestock Close: Futures Move Higher4-22

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Beans Continue Decline, Corn, Wheat Move Higher4-22

    AFB Cotton Close: Prices Continue Higher4-22

    AFB Rice Close: Unchanged to Slightly Higher4-22

    Welch on Grain: Modest Increase in Planted Corn Acres4-22

    Cotton: Smaller Pima Plantings Expected for 2014/154-22

    Welch on Wheat: Condition Decline Continues4-22

    DTN Cotton Close: Strong Old-Crop Gains4-22

    Mississippi: MSU Extension Marks Its 1st Century4-22

    DTN Grain Close: Corn Rebounds with Export Help4-22

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices4-22

    Ethanol Campaign Ramps Up as EPA Decision Nears – DTN4-22

    Mid-South Ag, Environmental Law Conference Set May 16 in Tunica, Miss.4-22

    AgFax Grain Review: Chinese Rejections Continue; Still Time to Plant Corn4-22

    DTN Fertilizer Trends: Prices Higher for 9th Straight Week4-22

    Pinnacle Acquires Harvey’s Agricultural Solutions4-21

    Livestock: U.S. at Disadvantage in Japan Trade Deal – DTN4-21

    Chemtura AgroSolutions Acquired by Platform Specialty Products4-21

    Indiana: Beck’s Hybrids Expands with $60M Investment4-21

    Wheat Resistance Gene Found Against Stem Rust Pathogen4-21

    Wheat: Study to Develop Climate-Resilient Varieties4-21

    North Carolina Wheat: Head Scab Alert Issued For Eastern Areas4-21

    Good on Grain: How Many Soybean Acres Do We Really Need?4-21

    4 Factors That Have Reshaped Agriculture in Last 10 Years — DTN4-21

    Texas Explosion Prompts Subtle Changes in Fertilizer Industry — DTN4-21

    Flint on Crops: Reniform Nematode Continues to Plague Us4-21

    Southern Grain: Freeze Effects? Corn Planting Slogs Along – AgFax4-19

    Arctic Warming Tied to Our Extreme Weather? Maybe. – DTN4-18

    Do Soybeans Need Nitrogen?4-18

    Is There An Advantage To More Corn Acres in Your Rotation? Yes and No.4-18

    Texas Rice: Garry McCauley Retires After 39 Years and Many Accomplishments4-18

    Rice Farmers In Midsouth Looking For A Break In The Weather – AgFax4-18

    Cleveland on Cotton: Nervous Market Nellies; Chinese Plant 20-25% Less4-17

    Grain TV: River Basis Levels See Large Rise4-17

    Chumrau on Wheat: World Supplies Get a Lift, but U.S. Stocks Look Tight4-17

    Mississippi: MSU Offers Four Deer Management Workshops This Summer4-17

    Mapping the Farm Bill: Voting Changes in the House of Representatives4-17

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights4-17

    Texas: Grain Grading Workshops, Amarillo, May 6-74-17

    Mississippi: State Soybean Value Grew $1B Since 20064-17

    U.S. Drought Outlook: Improvement Expected in Midwest, Central and Southern Great Plains4-17

    Farm Finances Rate an ‘A’ For Now, but Questions Linger — DTN4-17

    Mississippi: Top of the List for Water Resouces4-17

    U.S. Grain Transportation: Upper Mississippi Navigation Improves4-17

    Resistant Palmer Pigweed: What People Need To Know Before It Hits – AgFax4-17

    Chemical Safety Board Plans Meeting in West, Texas — DTN4-17

    West, Texas, Recovers and Rebuilds with Cautious Approach — DTN4-17

    U.S. Energy: Oil and Gas Spending Favors Exploration, Development4-17

    Gasoline Prices: Average Jumps 6 Cents4-17

    Propane Stocks: Increase by 0.8M Barrels4-17

    Diesel Prices: Average Down a Penny4-17

    Victims of Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Remembered — DTN4-17

    Keith Good: Beige Book — Observations on Ag Economy4-17

    Sunbelt Ag Events

     

    About Us

    AgFax.Com covers agricultural trends and production topics, with an emphasis on news about cotton, rice, peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat and tree crops, including almonds, pecans, walnuts and pistachios.

      

    This site also serves as the on-line presence of electronic crop and pest reports published by AgFax Media LLC (formerly Looking South Communications).

        

    Click here to subscribe to our free reports.

      

    We provide early warnings and confirmations about pests, diseases and other factors that influence yield. Our goal is to quickly provide farmers and crop advisors with information needed to make better and more profitable decisions.

         

    Our free weekly crop and pest advisories include:

    • AgFax Midsouth Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri.

    • AgFax Southeast Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southwest Cotton (new for 2013!), covering cotton production and news in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico.

    • AgFax West (formerly MiteFax: SJV Cotton), covering California cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes and other non-permanent crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgFax Rice covering rice production and news in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

    • AgFax Peanuts, covering peanut production in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southern Grain: covering soybeans, corn, milo and small grains in Southern states.

    • AgFax Almonds, covering almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other tree crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgCom 101, providing guidance to ag professionals involved in social media.

    Our newsletters are sponsored by the following companies: FMC Corporation Chemtura Dow AgroSciences.

          

    Mission statement:

    Make it as easy as possible for our community of readers to find and/or receive needed information.

              

    Contact Information:

    AgFax Media. LLC

    142 Westlake Drive Brandon, MS 39047

    601-992-9488 Office 601-992-3503 Fax

    Owen Taylor Debra L. Ferguson Laurie Courtney

          

    Circulation Questions?

    Contact Laurie Courtney