• Plant Health
  • Sep 25, 2019

3 Tips for Preparing a Nutrient Management Plan

Man in field at harvest conducting soil sample
Excessive rains are like flushing money down the drain. Nutrients lost through the soil are nothing but lost investments. Because of the saturated soils we saw this season, it’s more important than ever for farmers to go into 2020 with a solid nutrient management strategy. Work with your local retailer to start building a season-long plan that gives you some flexibility if weather conditions present challenges. Here are three tips to get started. 

1. Consider your crop plan

Farmers in many areas may have switched their crop plans this season due to environmental or market conditions. And some acres didn’t get planted at all. As you develop a nutrient management plan for next year, you’ll need to revisit your crop plan. Will you change your rotations? If so, that may change your fertility program.

2. Sample your soil and your plants

If it’s been several years since you’ve taken a soil test, it’s best to get an updated analysis done. Soil sampling is key to understanding what the baseline nutrient levels are in your soil, especially after the heavy precipitation we saw during the spring and early summer. It can help build the foundation for an effective fertility plan.
To understand how well plants are taking up nutrients from the soil, you need to tissue sample at critical growth stages throughout the season. This year, WinField United analyzed 49,441 tissue samples in order to help farmers make appropriate in-crop fertilizer decisions. Tissue sampling gives us a snapshot in time of the nutritional status of a plant. For corn and soybeans, I recommend sampling at V4 to V5 and again around V10 to V12. A final sampling in corn at the R1 growth stage can give us a report card for the season.
It’s a good idea to look at past soil and tissue sampling results to help identify trends you may see over time. For example, if one part of a field is deficient in nitrogen every year, there may be things you can do to limit nitrogen loss in those areas. Laboratories such as SureTech™ and Solum® provide customized analysis that can make record-keeping easy.

3. Stabilize your nitrogen

Did you know that up to 28% of nitrogen that farmers apply will be lost due to volatility, leaching and denitrification? The average loss in the Upper Mississippi Basin is 39 pounds per acre.1 Regardless of when or how you apply nitrogen, stabilizers make sense.
Not all nitrogen stabilizers work in the same way, so your retailer can recommend the best option based on your preferred application method. You can also monitor nitrogen levels in-season with the R7® Field Forecasting Tool. The tool can help pinpoint exactly how much and when you should apply nitrogen to improve your return on investment potential.
Adequate plant nutrition is a requirement to meet a crop’s yield potential. Now is the time to look ahead to avoid lost opportunities next season. Contact your locally owned and operated WinField United retailer to build a comprehensive nutrient strategy.

1 NRCS: Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, July 2012.
All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission. 

© 2019 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices, and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years, and be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. R7®, SureTech, Solum® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.

Plant Health

Thank You for Signing Up.

Get the latest insights and tips – directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our Advisor e-newsletter, keeping you up to date on the latest news, information and agronomic tips in the industry, national and local.

By signing up for WinField United emails, you agree to receive promotional information from WinField United. The emails will contain valuable agronomic insights, the latest WinField United product information and field updates. For more information about our privacy policy, please review it here.