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Fertilizing

Nutrient management is essential to soil health and we’ve contacted the experts to guide you – read their tips for raising a successful forage crop.

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Not many years ago, there were only two people allowed to enter a newly planted Midwest cornfield: One was the person applying the side-dress nitrogen, and the other was the person applying the weed control.

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Much of the nitrogen (N) applied to tall fescue and smooth bromegrass hay meadows and pastures goes on in January or February in eastern Kansas, but there is still time to apply it now even though temperatures late this winter have been warm and the cool-season grasses are greening up rapidly.

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Interest in protecting soil integrity is not a new topic. Soil conservation came to the forefront after the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Since then, producers have recognized the importance of the macroorganisms and microorganisms that call the soil home, as well as their roles in producing healthy plants.

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Nitrogen fertilizer management is highly impacted by changes and variability in climatic conditions. The specific aspects with the greatest effect include wet conditions in the fall, shortened winters, delayed spring fieldwork season, excessive precipitation early in the growing season and unusually heavy individual rainfall events.

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The economically optimum fertilizer rate is less than the rate where highest yield is achieved due to the concept of diminishing returns.

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Fall is a busy time of year on farms. Besides harvesting crops, never-ending field operations and routine chores, timely decisions are needed.

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