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Extension Agents recommends delay of anhydrous application

Harvest season is moving along and soon will be turning to preplant applications of fertilizer for the 2011 season.  There is good reason to delay applications of anhydrous ammonia until after soil temperatures have fallen below 50 degrees F.  This usually occurs after November 1 each year.  The average of the high and low temperature for the day is a good rough estimate of soil temperature.
        Below 50 degrees F. The bacteria conversion of Ammonium (NH4+) to Nitrate (NO3-) is very slow.  Ammonium is not leachable as it is bound to the soil particles and organic matter by the positive changes.  When converted to nitrate it is leachable.
        The concept of fall ammonia applications is minimal losses of the nitrogen because it is in the ammonium form.  In some cases local Natural Resource Districts have restrictions in place for both ammonia and other nitrogen application forms, like liquid and dry materials.  Farmers need to focus on grain care, field conservation repair, wheat planting and marketing before making ammonia applications.  It is a profitable management choice for your operation and for the environment.
        For more information e-mail Paul C Hay at [email protected], call 402-223-1384, or visit the Gage County Nebraska Extension Website: gage.unl.edu

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