No. 2 Article 12/April 6, 2007

Last Call for On-Farm N Rate Trial Cooperators

I know that weather delays are going to start to produce anxiety soon and that many producers don't want any distractions once planting starts. But we are still looking for more cooperators to take part in the on-farm nitrogen rate trials I have described here several times before. I used the trial results to talk about N rates in the previous issue of the Bulletin (issue 1, March 23, 2007).

We just received word that there will be funding for this project in 2007 from the Fertilizer Research and Education Council (FREC), which administers fertilizer checkoff funds under the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The funds will be used to provide a modest payment to cooperators to help make up for yield lost with low N rates. The average N rate we use in these trials is only 100 lb N per acre, so there is some savings in N. While use of the results will certainly make money for all, those wanting to make a quick profit might not find this to be the best program to sign up for.

Most of these trials will be done using side-dressed N this spring, so nothing need be done before planting except leaving N off the area. Trials, done using regular farm equipment, consist of 15 strips: 5 N rates and 3 reps. Strips are typically 12 to 16 rows wide and 300 to 1,000 ft long (we suggest shorter strips to minimize the amount of N-deficient corn), so the whole trial will take up as little as 3 to 5 acres. Yields will be taken with yield monitors or weigh wagons. The part of the field where the trial is done should be fairly uniform, and we need locations both where corn follows corn and corn follows soybean.

We will soon contact directly those who conducted trials in 2006 and have indicated they are willing to participate again. If you or someone you work with would like to conduct a trial in 2007, please contact me by e-mail (ednaf@uiuc.edu) or call 217-333-9658. Thanks to those who have done these trials, we are quickly gaining confidence in the soundness of our N rate guidelines in Illinois. The guidelines are based directly on N rate trials such as these, and no other state has a database as large or as good as the one we've assembled in Illinois. Thanks to all who have helped make this happen.--Emerson Nafziger

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