Nitrogen in Fields

Nitrogen is an important fertilizer for corn and soybean farmers. Too little of it can hurt the stand ability of crops, but too much of it can do the same. Ag economists suggest farmers use about 1.2 pounds of nitrogen per bushel for best results. But keeping that nitrogen on fields is often difficult.

Heavy rains in the spring lead to saturated soils. When the temperature of these soils warms, the rate of 'denitrification' climbs. When soil temperatures are 75 degrees, a field could lose up to 50 percent of its nitrogen. That's why reapplication of nitrogen may be necessary after an extended rainfall.