Managing Nitrogen in High Yield Environments

October - December 2002

Jerry W. Long , Cedar County Extension Education Director


Crop producers need assistance in better understanding nitrogen use in their corn crop. Crop production yields during the past crop year have exceeded many years of production yields in the county. Yet there is a concern over the ranges of yields in the county and on the same farm. Nitrogen management issues grows to be a greater concern as water quality issues are addressed. How much nitrogen is needed and what does Iowa State University (ISU) support concluding many years of study in nitrogen application and rates?


The cedar county extension education director, Jerry Long, approached the county corn and soybean commodity organization directors to see if they were interested in co-sponsoring a meeting in regard to this situation. After two meetings discussing possibilities to address the nitrogen and production factors in creating high yields, a meeting was scheduled in March 2002. The subjects to be addressed were nitrogen management and creating a maximum environment for high yields. The title of the meeting was “Managing Nitrogen in High Yield Environments."

Two well-known speakers were recruited to present this program to the crop producers. First, ISU Extension agronomist, Dr. Alfred Blackmer, and the National Corn producer winner in the nation and in the Iowa Master's Contest, Francis Childs, agreed to present their information accepting the challenge of the county corn producers. A total of 117 active farmers from the county attended this meeting. This represented one-fourth of all full-time farmers in Cedar County .


Several farmers responded to a survey of questions about practices that they would consider changing in their nitrogen management program. Twenty of the attendees responded, 14 farmers indicated that they were going to change their nitrogen rates to be more specific and realistic to the needs of their crop yields based upon comments of research results from Dr. Blackmer. Another four farmers indicated that they were going to try a few of the nitrogen rates in strip plots on their farm to compare the nitrogen rates described by Dr. Blackmer and that of the national corn grower, Francis Childs. In addition threefarmers vowed to change their tillage operation to increase the soil tilth of their crop land beginning in 2002. One farmer has completed nitrogen strips and will follow up with corn stalk tests at the end of the season.


Page last updated: July 10, 2006
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