The nearly perfect weather conditions during the fall of 2022 lead to one of the most efficient harvest seasons in recent memory. The dry soil conditions provided the opportunity for many producers to apply manure or anhydrous ammonia earlier and on more acres than they would in an average year. Now with planting underway throughout much of the region, growers are beginning to question how much of the nitrogen is still there.
An ideal scenario for retaining fall applied nitrogen is a winter that starts off cold and stays cold with relatively low precipitation. Unfortunately, that was not the case for most of the Eastern Corn Belt. Through the months of February and March, the temperatures were a roller coaster. This is very obvious when viewing the National Weather Service’s monthly ice and snow report for February 2023. Fortunately, we did not have excessive precipitation during this time, but most areas still saw average to slightly above average precipitation. So, what does this mean for nitrogen retention? It means that much of our region has had the potential to experience significant nitrogen loss since last fall. Soil testing for nitrate and ammonium is going to be critical this season for those fields with fall applications. For more information on potential winter losses of nitrogen please visit our article from last spring.