Maximize available Nitrogen

Dr. Tom Jensen, Director for the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), teaches about the nitrogen cycle and when plants need it the most. Watch this video to also learn more about protecting and maximizing available nitrogen so it’s there when your crop needs it.

Consider if your nitrogen is at risk. Leaching, in agriculture refers to the loss of water-soluble plant nutrients form the soil, due to rain and irrigation. Denitrification is the biological conversion of nitrate to nitrogen gas. According to Jensen, it’s denitrification that Western Canadian growers need to manage the most.

“We don’t lose a lot through leaching under most of our soils in Western Canada. It’s primarily on sandy, coarse textured soils under irrigation where we have higher leaching losses, we’re more worried about the denitrification losses,” explains Jensen.

“Under most conditions leaching probably only accounts for a 7 to 10% loss, but in the perfect storm – where nitrogen is put on early in the fall, with an open fall where it gets changed to nitrate, followed by heavy snow through winter and really wet, soggy conditions during spring thaw – that’s when we have the biggest potential for denitrification losses. In Eastern Manitoba they’ve had some springs where they estimate they have lost 60 to 70% of the fall-applied nitrogen to denitrification.”

Watch this video to learn more about how denitrification and leaching impact the nitrogen you apply.