Fall Anhydrous Ammonia Utility Practices and Profitability on Fields Enrolled in Precision Conservation Administration

Fall Anhydrous Ammonia Utility Practices and Profitability on Fields Enrolled in Precision Conservation Administration

As fall nitrogen software season approaches, we summarize the autumn software practices on farms enrolled in Precision Conservation Administration (PCM). Total, 36% of fields in PCM obtain at the least 40% of their nitrogen as fall purposes. We discover that profitability is maximized at software charges at university-recommendations. Making use of nitrogen after planting didn’t enhance profitability, maybe as a result of charges exceeded college suggestions.

Nitrogen Purposes on Midwest Farms

Farmers often make area passes dedicated to nitrogen fertilizer purposes throughout at the least one in every of three durations:

Fall: Fall purposes of nitrogen usually happen in late fall after the soil temperature has fallen under 50 levels. The type of this nitrogen usually is anhydrous ammonia. Fall purposes embrace these utilized as a part of strip tillage, a area operation that tills a strip and should apply nitrogen and different vitamins when the strip is constructed.

Spring Earlier than Planting: Spring purposes happen earlier than planting. Purposes usually are within the type of anhydrous ammonia or nitrogen options (28% or 32%).

Publish plant: Nitrogen purposes can happen after planting as both nitrogen options or anhydrous ammonia.

Along with the nitrogen fertilizer passes, nitrogen is also utilized as a part of different fertilizers or herbicide purposes. Usually, these passes embrace:

Dry fertilizers: Dry fertilizers present phosphorus and potassium vitamins. Usually, phosphorus is utilized as diammonium phosphate (DAP) or monammnium phosphate (MAP), each of which comprise nitrogen.

Herbicide Purposes: Pre-plant herbicide purposes usually embrace nitrogen options as a part of the appliance. Nitrogen options enhance the effectiveness of the herbicides in addition to present nitrogen to the corn plant.

Knowledge from Precision Conservation Administration

This text stories on the nitrogen fertilizer practices of fields enrolled in Precision Conservation Administration (PCM). PCM is a farmer service program led by the Illinois Corn Growers Affiliation and Illinois Soybean Affiliation in partnership with over 30 entities, together with different commodity associations, conservation teams, non-public foundations, provide chain suppliers, the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the Pure Useful resource Conservation Service (NRCS). PCM is an effort to deal with the targets of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Discount Technique. The mission of PCM is to assist farmers make choices about adopting on-farm conservation practices in a financially accountable means. By means of PCM’s regional specialists, PCM works one-on-one with over 300 farmers.

Knowledge on this article comes from sixteen counties in east central Illinois (see Determine 1). Total, farmland is productive, with corn yields having a median of 224 bushels per acre for fields reported on this article. Over 90% of the fields in PCM observe a corn-soybeans rotation.

Fall Anhydrous Ammonia Utility Practices and Profitability on Fields Enrolled in Precision Conservation Administration

The fields on this article apply anhydrous ammonia within the fall. For all fields in PCM, 36% have a fall software wherein greater than 40% of complete nitrogen is utilized, implying that 67% of the fields obtain most of their nitrogen purposes in spring or following planting. On common, there are 25,000 acres summarized on this report.  Attributable to development in PCM, acres have grown from 9,000 in 2016 to 34,000 in 2021. Common variety of fields throughout all years is 304.  Area numbers have grown from 102 in 2016 to 429 in 2021.  Area measurement averages 83 acres.

Nitrogen Purposes for Fall Utilized Nitrogen

Desk 1 reveals software charges for farmers that utilized nitrogen within the fall. Values are given for every year from 2016 by means of 2021. Focus first will probably be given to the typical for all years.

On common, 144 kilos of N had been utilized as anhydrous ammonia within the fall. Provided that anhydrous ammonia is 82% nitrogen, the 144 kilos of N software required a median anhydrous ammonia software of 175 kilos. Along with the 144 kilos of nitrogen from anhydrous ammonia, a further 20 kilos had been utilized within the fall. These 20 kilos of nitrogen primarily comes from fall-applied DAP and MAP purposes. A mean of 164 kilos of N had been utilized in fall by means of ammonia and different purposes.

Spring pre-plant purposes common 17 kilos per acre. Most of those purposes had been from the inclusion of nitrogen answer in herbicide purposes. A small variety of fields additionally utilized DAP and MAP within the spring.

A mean of three kilos of nitrogen had been utilized at planting. A small variety of fields put nitrogen on at spring planting. ‘

On post-plant purposes, 36 kilos of nitrogen had been utilized on common. Nevertheless, the kilos of post-plant different throughout farms. In 2021, 60% of the fields acquired some type of post-plant software, whereas 40% didn’t obtain any software.

There may be some variability in common charges throughout the years. Charges declined from a complete N of 247 kilos in 2016 to 215 in 2017. The bottom complete price was 204 kilos per acre in 2019, the yr of heavy rainfall and late corn planting.

College suggestions from the Corn Nitrogen Charge Calculator are given as Most Return to Nitrogen (MRTNs). These suggestions vary by yr, relying on the relative costs of corn and nitrogen. Furthermore, every year MRTNs are up to date as further knowledge enter the calculators. For corn-after-soybean, MRTNs had been 168 kilos per acre in 2016, 172 kilos in 2017, 176 in 2018, 173 in 2019, and 184 in 2020.

For PCM farms, the typical of complete nitrogen purposes had been above MRTNs. Common nitrogen purposes within the fall had been close to the MRTNs.

Variability and Profitability

Averages in Desk 1 masks variability throughout fields. Panel A of Desk 2 reveals the p.c of fields in software ranges. On common, 7% of the fields acquired a complete price between 160 and 180 kilos of nitrogen per acre, and 18% acquired purposes between 180 and 200 kilos per acre. These two ranges comprise 25% of the fields. MRTNs fell in these two ranges. The subsequent three ranges had been above the MRTN: 34% had been from 200 to 220 kilos, 21% from 220 to 240 kilos, and 18% had been over 240 kilos. The three increased ranges included 73% of the fields. Two p.c of fields had purposes under 160 kilos.

Operator and land return is a measure of profitability. Panel B of Desk 2 reveals operator and land returns by software vary classes. Common returns had been $310 for the 160 to 180-pound class and $336 per acre for the 180 to 200-pound class. Common returns had been decrease for the upper software price classes above the MRTNs: $295 per acre for 200 to 220 kilos per acre, $277 for the 220 to 240-pound vary, and $301 for the over 240-pound class.

Total, there have been minor will increase in yields for increased software charges in some years.  Nitrogen fertilizer prices, nonetheless, elevated with extra purposes charges. Every 20 pound of precise nitrogen requires 24 further kilos of anhydrous ammonia.  At $750 per ton for ammonia, 24 further kilos provides $9 per acre in prices.  Further area passes will enhance prices extra.

Total, the above returns recommend that the college beneficial MRTNs maximize returns from nitrogen.

Publish-Plant Purposes

We divided fields into two teams to judge the profitability of making use of nitrogen post-plant given a fall software of anhydrous ammonia. The 2 teams had been

  1. Publish-plant purposes included 60% of fields receiving post-plant nitrogen.
  2. No-post-plant software fields that didn’t obtain nitrogen post-plant.

The 2 teams had roughly the identical operator and land return: $289 per acre for post-plant purposes in comparison with $289 per acre for no-post-plant. Total, fields with publish purposes had barely increased yields: 217 bushels per acre for post-plant purposes in comparison with 213 with no-post-plant. Further prices exist for post-applications, together with 1) the prices of the post-plant nitrogen go and a couple of) switching nitrogen varieties. Most publish purposes are made with nitrogen options which have increased prices per pound of nitrogen in comparison with anhydrous ammonia.

In making this comparability, each post-applied nitrogen fields and people who didn’t obtain post-applications had nitrogen purposes above MRTNs: 220-pound common post-application fields in comparison with 216 kilos for fields with no-post-plant Outcomes may have differed for the 2 teams had purposes been nearer to MRTNs.


On common, fields in PCM that acquired fall-applied anhydrous ammonia had increased returns when nitrogen software charges had been close to MRTNs. We didn’t discover increased profitability for fields that utilized nitrogen after planting, maybe as a result of nitrogen was nicely above MRTNs for each units of fields that acquired and didn’t obtain post-plant purposes.

Extra farmdoc day by day articles coping with PCM can be found right here.