From the Farm: Fall-applied Fertilizer

Agriculture

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) – It’s not too long after harvest that everybody is going to be putting on some fall-applied fertilizer; no matter what expense it may be. But how much of that is going to stay with you? It’s still a question.

Marcos Loman – who is a University of Illinois crops researcher from Brazil – has been working on that. What sort of answers can he provide to farmers about how much of that nitrogen – for example – stays around?

“We’re looking at different sources of fall-applied fertilizer, specifically phosphorus and sulfur fertilizers that also contain nitrogen in it. We’re looking into how much of those fall-applied fertilizer nutrients are in the soil in the spring. How much they will move throughout the soil profile and how different sources can affect nutrient availability,” Loman said. “Some interesting findings are that fall-applied nitrogen, most of it is not plant-available in the spring. So that is a question that most farmers have; ‘Can I account for the nitrogen that I am applying with my MAP or DAP sources?’ And we saw that basically all of it is not lost, but it is not plant available in the spring.”

Loman’s recommendation to farmers:

“If you are going to do a fall application of phosphorus and you want to put some sulfur with your fall application, I would recommend a source that has elemental sulfur because it takes more time to break down and it will be more available by spring for your crop.”

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