Renewable Farming

Management mission for your post-harvest breather: “Time to RE-think anhydrous”

We’re quoting Progressive Farmer Senior Editor Jim Patrico from the subtitle of a feature posted today on the DTN/Progressive Farmer website. Jim details why Greg Carson and his father phased away from NH3 seven years ago.

Oct. 9, 2017 — The Carsons achieve their yield goal of 230 bu. on 3,000 acres of corn using 0.75 lbs. of applied nitrogen per bushel harvested. This is moving toward the range which fully “biological” corn growers are achieving with comparable yields.

Patrico’s report points out that the old habit of fall anhydrous isn’t likely to fade out quickly or totally. But new tools and the pressure of keeping leached nitrogen out of waterways are positive incentives.

Patrico doesn’t discuss releasing soil biology as a means of replacing applied nitrogen. However, other farmers who are linking cover crops, residue digesters, in-furrow biological products and carefully metered nutrient applications in-season are likely to accelerate the trend away from NH3.

In an earlier report, we quoted Iowa corn grower Dave Schwartz who points out that only 10% of applied anhydrous finds its way into the crop. That ratio might improve with the current generation of anhydrous stabilizers — those that aren’t bactericides.

We suggest you read Jim Patrico’s article; it’s thorough as is customary with his ag journalism record of winning many writing honors.