Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

Fall Nitrogen - BMPs and Water Quality

With temperatures falling to the 30's at night for much of central and northern Illinois, thoughts begin to turn to the yearly question "When Can I Start to Apply Ammonia?"
The following best management practices reflect what we've learned in 8 years of NREC funded research, performed on actual farmer fields over tile drainage.  These BMPs are also part of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (INLRS) recommendations and the University of Illinois recommendations.  The BMPs are as follows:
Use the Right Nitrogen Rate and do not apply the full rate in the fall.  We recommend saving 30-40% of the rate to be applied pre-plant or side-dress.  This helps to manage both environmental and agronomic risk since we don't know what the weather will be over the next six months.  The Illinois Nitrogen Rate Calculator is updated each year with the results of dozens of nitrogen rate trials performed throughout the State.  The current recommended rates for corn following soybean are.
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