One-pass N application saves farmers fuel, time
Time and fuel represent two valuable assets for wheat farmers and management options and saving both resources is a must. Being able to apply nitrogen (N) in a seed-row application without harming your seedlings saves farmers both time and fuel.
“Improving seed safety on in-row applications usually results in time and/or fuel savings for farmers,” says Alan Blaylock, Ph.D., agronomy manager for Agrium Advanced Technologies (AAT). “Being able to put the fertilizer in the plant row allows farmers to use the same opener for the seed and remove the other knives, creating less drag and improving fuel efficiency.”
In the past, the mid-row bander and side banding equipment were essential to help growers apply fertilizer in a single pass. This equipment was required because excessive conventional N harmed the seed. High salt and free ammonia prevented germination and burned small seedlings, causing stand loss. Growers were limited to an amount of N that could be applied using a single shoot system.
“We have to put N in the seed row, because a double-shot system doesn’t work under our dry conditions,” says Bruce Doenz, Warner, Alberta farmer. “In the past, we applied as much seed-row N as soil moisture would allow, then top-dressed.”
Today, new technologies like ESN Smart Nitrogen allow cereal farmers the ability to apply up to three times the safe rate of urea at time of seeding, reduce the number of trips across their fields and increase efficiencies with single shoot systems.
“Now, we’re putting all of our ESN in the seed row because safety isn’t an issue,” says Doenz. “We haven’t seen any indication of damage and we’re also saving the application cost of topdressing. Higher yield potential, safety and ease of use far outweigh the additional cost of ESN.”
In addition, being able to safely apply higher rates allows many dry land wheat farmers to apply much or their entire N in one pass, eliminating future passes through the field, and further saving on fuel costs. Perhaps more importantly, it saves farmers valuable time.
“Because farmers can apply higher rates of ESN than just urea, farmers with a single-shoot application system can apply much or all their nitrogen fertilizer in one pass,” says Ross McKenzie, Ph.D., agronomy research scientist with Alberta Agriculture. “Even double-shoot applications can put down some urea and the remaining N as ESN.”