Nitrogen Fertilizer Usage Reduced in Corn Production with Adoption of New Technology

Mark Hanna, Extension Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Situation: 

Each year over a billion pounds of nitrogen is applied as anhydrous ammonia to Iowa corn fields.  Corn acreage increased 13.5% in the latest USDA estimate of planting (6/30/07).  The potential for increased nitrogen fertilizer usage and energy required for its production dictates that growers should use every means possible to use N as efficiently as possible without excessive application. 

Objective: 

To highlight newly developed anhydrous ammonia distribution technology that delivers the same minimum amount of nitrogen per corn row while achieving a reduced overall application rate to the corn field.

Activities/Output: 

Improved nitrogen application with the Impellicone (developed at Iowa State University) and other superior anhydrous ammonia distribution devices was presented as part of reduced crop energy use presentations throughout the state and at regional multi-state conferences.  Numerous grower inquiries were answered.   Field tests suggested that overall field nitrogen application rate can be reduced by 5% without reducing the minimum N amount applied to any row. 

Impact/Outcomes: 

The Impellicone anhydrous ammonia application manifold was recognized as one of the top 10 agricultural equipment designs in the last 20 years by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.  Sales and usage have been reported as brisk by the commercial manufacturer, CDS John Blue Company (actual sales numbers are proprietary). 

July 5, 2007
100 - Corn and Soybean Production and Protection

Page last updated: August 2, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu