Weigh Fertilizer Options

corn
Disadvantages 

  • High salt content can burn leaves and steer roots away from nutrients
  • Immobile nutrients such as phosphorus can’t get any closer to the roots because they can’t be carried like liquid in water
  • Each granule holds a nonuniform amount of nutrients
none

Liquid

Advantages 

  • Easier to handle when blending and applying
  • Provides uniform application
  • Can be used for both starter and in-season application
  • Option for one-pass in season by blending with crop protection products
Disadvantages 

  • Can be expensive to convert equipment to handle liquid fertilizer
  • More susceptible to volatilization and loss

Special Considerations for Anhydrous Ammonia
While anhydrous ammonia (NH3) can serve as an excellent source of nitrogen, many factors need to be in place for it to be effective. Penn State University Extension provides some recommendations and points of caution.

Be mindful of your soil composition. “If rocks or terrain cause the injection knives to come out of the soil, NH3 will immediately be lost to the atmosphere,” Penn State says. If you have rough and rocky field conditions, it might be best to look into other options.

Soil moisture can affect row closure behind the knife. If it’s too dry the soil won’t close and you’ll lose nitrogen to the atmosphere. Additionally, NH3 needs water to convert to NH4 so it can be absorbed into soil particles.

These special considerations for your soil might make application timing trickier than using other nitrogen fertilizer options. However, if you hit the right conditions, anhydrous ammonia can help provide crops nitrogen when they need it in a relatively easy-to-use form.

 

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