Helena Emphasizes Nitrogen Options Amid Weather and Logistical Snags

Helena recommends applying nitrogen as close to the time the crop needs the nitrogen to minimize the risk of loss. ( Darrell Smith )

The spring of 2019 has brought weather-related planting delays and snags with agricultural input logistics. According to recent news release from Helena Agri-Enterprises, “barge traffic ferrying fertilizer north is at a standstill.”

In response to this season’s challenges, the retailer is emphasizing nitrogen management and working with farmers to ensure this crop is as successful as a it can be. 

“Our problems started with an extremely short anhydrous ammonia season last fall, with applications off by as much as 70%,” Scott Dettmann, fertilizer manager in Helena’s northern business unit said in a recent news release. “After that, Mother Nature never let up.” 

So, Helena Agri-Enterprises is working with farmers to meet the nutritional needs of their crop in alternative ways. 

“If there were ever a year to step away from your traditional plan, this is it,” he said. Dettmann and Matt Boyer, an agronomist with Helena’s northern business unit provide these three considerations: 

  1. Add a nitrogen stabilizer. According to the Helena experts, a nitrogen stabilizer will help farmers stretch their nitrogen supply for as long as possible. 
  2. Split apply crop nutrients. Helena recommends applying nitrogen as close to the time the crop needs the nitrogen to minimize the risk of loss.
    “If you’re doing a two-pass herbicide program, you’re already driving through the field,” Boyer said. “By cutting back on your upfront nitrogen, you can come back with a side-dress application without an additional pass across the field, which saves you time and money.” 
  3. Tissue sample. Particularly this season, measure which nutrients are deficient to make in-season adjustments. 
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