Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

Farmers looking for a quick and easy way to calculate this year's nitrogen rates and cost can find it in a new slide rule.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension slide rule funded by the Nebraska Corn Board is available to order by contacting a local UNL Extension office, said Charles Shapiro, soils specialist at UNL's Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord.

"The free slide rule will help farmers know how much nitrogen is needed for corn and adjust for economic conditions," Shapiro said. "It's important to apply nitrogen properly the cost of under applying is always a lot higher than over applying."

Farmers can calculate nitrogen fertilizer needs in six easy steps. However, they first need to know the amount of soil organic matter in their fields. This is found by having a soil test.

This slide rule updates an older version which was produced over 10 years ago.

A new feature of this slide rule is the adjustments for economic conditions.

"With the price of corn and nitrogen fertilizer going up and down, there are times when farmers may want to adjust their rates," he said. "This will allow them to calculate ratios between the price of corn and the price of nitrogen."

A complete Corn Nitrogen Calculator and more information is available on the UNL Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Web page.