Well, since I’m the man on the soapbox, maybe a little attention would be nice.
I’ve seen quite a few producers starting to put down ammonia this week. Not necessarily a bad idea, if they’re also using a stabilizer.
The problem: most aren’t using a stabilizer.
Which amounts to throwing money away. It is simple science that most of the Nitrogen being applied right now without the compliment of a stabilizer will be lost before the next crop can use it. Whenever the soil temperature is above 50 degrees, microbes in the soil take the opportunity to make lunch of your Nitrogen, thus the loss.
The saddest (and most frustrating) thing about this is that most producers not using a stabilizer are not doing so because of the supposed cost. I won’t mince words here: the cost of using a stabilizer is lower than the cost of losing yield due to a lack of Nitrogen, and it is lower than the cost of applying more Nitrogen as well, especially when you factor in all the problems that the latter option brings with it.
Perhaps in years past we could have gotten away with the “if some is good, more is better” approach to Nitrogen, but those days are over. We all know, and some of us have experienced firsthand, the increased scrutiny that is being placed on our industry from all directions: consumers, activists, anyone really with access to the internet. And which isn’t necessarily misguided. We’re simply now being held accountable for a value that we should have had all along: responsible use of resources.
In the end, we can’t get better by doing the same thing year after year. We’re called upon to grow and evolve as the demands placed upon our industry grow and evolve, and that requires change. Perhaps we don’t have to make wild and revolutionary changes, but perhaps even just a small change in our thinking or perspective will prove revolutionary after all. Be aware of what you’re doing out there. Be purposeful. Be careful. It’s good for you, good for your crops, the environment, and your wallet.