Source: Robert Mullen, Ed Lentz and Keith Deidrick, Ohio State University
The wet weather continues and many may be concerned about the risk of nitrogen loss. Some areas of Ohio have seen sizable rainfall amounts that can increase the risk of leaching or denitrification, but the question is should you be concerned about nitrogen loss?
At this point in the season, Ohio State University researchers would not be overly concerned if anhydrous ammonia was applied as the nitrogen source. Anhydrous ammonia is efficient because it is fairly resistant to microbial oxidation due to its fumigant properties; it eliminates the bacteria responsible for nitrification, which is the conversion of ammonium to nitrate, near the band of application. Thus, that material can be in the field for a week or two (or longer) prior to conversion to nitrate. Additionally, the speed of microbial oxidation is a function of soil temperature.
At this point in the growing season, soil temperatures are relatively cool, although the warm stretch in April has caused Ohio soils to be slightly warmer than usual compared to historic averages.