Nitrogen Management in a Wet Year

Southeast, South Dakota, along with the majority of the Midwest region of the United States, has seen substantial amounts of rain the past couple of weeks. Crop health, flooding issues, and fertility are a few of the things to worry about when dealing with these big rain events. As the rain passes and fields begin to dry out, you should take some time to drive around and assess the current conditions you are up against.

Washouts, sitting water, and flooding are many of the common issues that have followed this previous rain event. When thinking about fertility, it is important to understand the leachable nutrients. Rightfully so, nitrogen is a commonly talked about nutrient when referring to leachability. To know how much you have, taking nitrate samples is something to consider. Of course, there may be acres on every farm that yield zero, but it is important to not give up on the acres that still have a chance to yield high.

Depending on your soil type, nitrate moves six inches down the profile for every inch of drainage. In some places, we have gotten ten inches of rain or more. With this rule, it is safe to assume that nitrate has moved sixty inches down into the soil profile. V8 corn is commonly referred to as about 24 inches. This means that with this recent rainfall, we lost a good amount of nitrogen. It is understandable to be stressed and discouraged by the current situation, but staying positive in a tough situation is the most important thing to do. We highly encourage you to spend a couple of bucks and sample your fields to see how you are sitting on nitrate levels going forward this growing season.