Verdesian: Harvest a good time to spot those nitrogen losses


Sustainability can mean a lot of different things depending on a farmer’s perspective but for Verdesian Life Sciences, it’s all about making sure a grower is sustainable not only environmentally but also economically.

“We believe strongly you can do both,” said Dr. Darin Lickfeldt, Senior Technical Development Manager for Verdesian. “We can push their yields and profitability to an all-time high, but also still do things that keep our waters and soils in good and healthy conditions.”

One way to work on sustainability is through Verdesian’s line of fertilizer additives, which are geared to help stabilize nitrogen and inhibit nitrogen loss. Another is the company’s phosphorus enhancing technologies that help get more phosphorus into the plant and less in runoff.

One technology in particular that Lickfeldt recommends is Take Off.  The N-management product can be applied to plants either by soil or to the foliage and signals the plant to take more nitrogen out of the soil.

“It is really revolutionary,” Lickfeldt said. “It’s not a plant growth regulator the way some might think, but it effects the plant’s physiology and it makes the plant think its deficient in nitrogen when it’s not. That pulls more nitrogen out of the soil going into the crop, and again helps the farmer with profitability, but also lessens the chance of nitrogen ending up where it shouldn’t be.”

While many growers at this year’s Farm Progress Show expressed concerns about the economy and commodity prices, Lickfeldt said these types of inputs shouldn’t be questioned in the long run.

“Sometimes they will look at things like fertilizer additives as a discretionary spend,” Lickfeldt said. “If a grower is serious about economic and environmental sustainably, we don’t look at it as discretionary but really as a must have.”

Lickfeldt said growers can start to see where these products are needed once Harvest 17 starts. As combines start to roll over the next six to eight weeks, he says growers should pay attention to the yield monitors, areas in the fields that might have been too wet in which case they lost nitrogen due to nitrification or denitrification, and areas where it may have been too dry where they lost nitrogen to volatilization.

“No field is completely uniform and there’s going to be areas that are going to be wet, some are going to be dry,” Lickfeldt said. “We offer a product that will protect nitrogen under all three conditions.”

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