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Agricultural News

When it Comes to Nitrogen, OSU's Brian Arnall Says "Get it in the Ground"

Tue, 17 May 2016 00:45:12 CDT

When it Comes to Nitrogen, OSU's Brian Arnall Says Dr. Brian Arnall, Nutrients for Life Foundation Professorship of Soil & Food Crop Nutrition at OSU, says rethinking nitrogen management could mean a big difference in results for wheat farmers. During the Lahoma Wheat Field Day last week, Arnall discussed the need to drill nitrogen into the ground to avoid loss.

Whether it’s urea, UAN or other dry sources, Arnall says getting that nitrogen into the ground will make it more efficient.

“When urea sits on the surface, it’s acted upon by the enzyme urease and the first step in that process is to go to ammonia,” he says. “And then if there’s any water present, it goes to ammonium, which is a good soild form. If it dries with that ammonium attaching to soil, it can be lost through the air.”

Arnall says Oklahoma fall and spring days are the perfect storms for this process.

“The warmer it is, the more humid it is, the more of that urea prill is going to melt in the morning with the dew, dry off and the wind is going to drive off the ammonia,” he says. “We can see in spring applications and in late fall applications when it’s warm and we have good moisture that those losses can be higher.”

Arnall also recommends utilizing N-Rich strips to detect nitrogen deficiencies in actively growing crops.

“The guys who have used N-Rich strips historically - 7,8,9 years - were reporting to me that up to this year they had been using 1.1 to 1.3 lbs of N per bushel to grow their wheat,” he says. “This year because of our climate, because the way the fall was, because the way winter was, most of those producers actually ended up applying closer to 2 lb of N per bushel.

“We had an environment that was either conducive to loss or tie-up, so that wheat crop needed more than it has in the past. So the strips this year really panned out and helped those guys that had been in the last several years reducing their N rate actually keep up where N utilization was a little bit poorer than normal.”

Ron Hays caught up with Dr. Arnall during the Lahoma Wheat Field Day this past Friday. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the full interview.



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