Points to Ponder as Manure Is Being Applied

While warm, clear weather allows us to get lots of field work done, it is not conducive to retention of ammonia from the manure being applied to the fields.  Understanding that we often have no choice but to carry out tasks in imperfect conditions, here are some things to keep in mind: When it's dry, warm, sunny, and windy, it may take only 3 days to lose 50% of the ammonia nitrogen from unincorporated top-dressed dairy manure.  Depending on your manure analysis and rate of application, that could easily mean that you have lost 50 pounds of nitrogen per acre just from ammonia loss!  Incorporate if you can.  If you cannot, account for the losses accordingly when thinking about nitrogen fertility for the rest of the season for that crop.  In corn, a PSNT or the Cornell Adapt-N program can help you determine an optimal sidedress rate. This is the type of weather where urease inhibitors (included in urea-containing fertilizers) are more likely to pay you back quickly.  Urea that is spread right now can easily be lost via volatilization – up to 15% losses over 10 days at 75⁰F, and more if we get light wetting/drying cycles. Manure testing is extremely important even if you expect significant loss.  After it gets applied, it is too late to test it!  Predicting how much more nitrogen you will need for your crop is impossible unless you know how much went on and

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