As you head into harvest, you’ve got a lot to think about. But there’s a looming question that awaits you: What is your input plan for 2021?
One thing you can do now to help your crop next spring is to review your nitrogen management plan — don’t be tempted to put it at risk by reducing your investment in nitrogen stabilizers this fall.
Protecting your most important investment
Tim Laatsch, director of agronomy for North America with Koch Agronomic Services (Koch), knows first-hand the challenges and opportunities that growers have going into next season. Laatsch has farmed corn and soybeans in Southern Illinois for more than 20 years.
“Nitrogen is going to be one of the most important investments to your crop, and the last thing you want to do is to cut inputs and compromise the yield performance of the plants,” says Laatsch.
Two of the largest factors out of your control are seasonal weather and commodity prices. Unpredictable weather, from drought to heavy rains and flooding, will cause your nitrogen to be lost to the environment along with your hopes of optimizing your yields. And with those lower yields, Laatsch says he’s been increasingly concerned that the low commodity prices are leaving those growers with a slim return on investment after harvest.
“Maximizing yields is a great way to combat low commodity prices,” says Laatsch. “With the time, energy and money you invest in your crops — you have to find opportunities that you can take control of for your farming operation. If you don’t take advantage of nitrogen stabilizers, you will compromise your yield performance and profitability.”
Looking at inputs by performance and cost, he chose CENTURO® nitrification inhibitor to protect the nitrogen he applies on his farm.
“This year I was increasingly conscious of input costs, but rather than reducing the nitrogen rate that I was going to apply to the field — I chose to change to a more cost-effective source of nitrogen. I used anhydrous ammonia and stabilized 100 percent of it with CENTURO.”
The next-generation inhibitor from Koch provides you with many benefits. First and foremost, CENTURO helps keep the applied nitrogen in the ammonium form three times longer than without an inhibitor1. That maximizes the nutrients available for crop uptake when they’re needed the most. Providing highly effective below-ground protection for anhydrous ammonia, CENTURO also boosts nitrogen use efficiency by up to 25 percent2.
For the past two years, Seth Holland has used CENTURO on his farm, and he recommends it to his neighbors. As the plant nutrition agronomist for Asmus Farm Supply in Rake, Iowa, Holland says CENTURO is an easy-to-use stabilizer with handling benefits for retailers. But he’s also witnessed how growers’ attitudes towards the input has changed.
“You’ve always had the guys who wanted to use stabilizers, but others didn’t want to mess with it,” says Holland. “But now guys are starting to realize that with their yield performance, stabilizers pay for themselves.”
Holland remembers the negatives of working with other stabilizers, so he doesn’t blame them.
“In years past with competitors’ products — they were really corrosive, the smell was not pleasant at all, and it just wasn’t fun to work with them,” he says. “It salted out, froze, and it could wreck pumps.”
From a user standpoint, CENTURO offers multiple operational efficiencies benefits including:
- CENTURO offers the flexibility to be added before, during or after the addition of anhydrous ammonia and through the use of a side-kick system.
- The product’s noncorrosive formula to the metals in anhydrous ammonia and UAN equipment make it easy-to-handle and gentle on equipment.
- CENTURO gives retailers storage options by not requiring stainless steel tanks like other stabilizers.
- The inhibitor is a stable product and can be stored for at least two years without degrading.
- CENTURO will not freeze as long as temperatures remain above -9 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Bottom Line
Technology advances in agriculture all the time. Laatsch suggests taking a look at the solutions available to you to help improve your bottom line.
“My first recommendation would be for growers to take a look at the technologies available to them to minimize nitrogen loss and improve profitability,” he says. “The other piece of advice I would have would be to talk to your local retailer. They have localized knowledge and can help you build a nitrogen management system that best fits your farm.”
Laatsch adds that additional tools are available to help you make decisions, including KASFieldNotes.com. The site is home to a great deal of new content, including interviews with agronomic experts, retailers and growers. You’ll find articles, videos and podcasts that will help you make informed nitrogen management decisions.
Paid for by Koch Agronomic Services