Conditions And Logistics Plague Anhydrous Application

While some are in the field applying pre-plant fertilizer, others are waiting for hours or even days for supplies to meet demand. ( Margy Eckelkamp )

While some are in the field applying pre-plant fertilizer, others are waiting for hours or even days for supplies to meet demand.

The prolonged harvest of 2018 is partially to blame.

“We got significantly less than normal anhydrous volumes applied in the fall of 2018,” says Tim Laatsch with Koch Agronomic Services.

Couple that with the widespread wet conditions and logistical snags, and it’s crunch time.

U.S. Farm Report Host Tyne Morgan saw the long lines of farmers anxious to load up on fertilizer and head to the fields this spring:

There is some progress being made, as AgDay National Report Betsy Jibben found in central Iowa.

“I would say approximately 40 to 50 percent of the anhydrous ammonia is on, which means over half of the anhydrous needs to be applied [in the area],” says Rolland Schnell, a farmer in Jasper County, Iowa, 

Because of that, some farmers have late minute acreage decisions to make. Schnell decided to plant more corn and it’s all due to price.

“I personally don’t see much of a future in the soybean market as of the 2019 crop,” said Schnell.

And there are reports of progress from Illinois as well:

But, farmers and applicators shouldn’t cover acres at any cost.

Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie says “I’ll be honest; I’ve driven by some train wrecks this week. One applicator was smoking, but it was running shallow.” Read more here.

In some cases, Ferrie says farmers can go a bit deeper with their anhydrous application when soils are slightly above ideal moisture conditions. According to University of Illinois Extension, an adequate application depth under ideal moisture conditions is approximately 6 inches for fine-textured soils and 8 inches for coarser-textured soils or sandy soils.

The problem this year, Ferrie says, is that fields are just too wet for anhydrous to go on them. Listen to Ferrie’s full report here.

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