Data confirm late-season nitrogen applications hit the sweet spot

Farm Forum

SHOREVIEW, Minn. — Farmers now have fresh data to help them get the best return on their N investments. Results from the 2015 Answer Plot Program by WinField show a positive yield response to split-season and late-season N applications, made at critical corn growth stages.

To help farmers identify the best way to optimize N use by corn, researchers compared the results of three different application scenarios: 1) applying their total N allotment at planting; 2) applying two-thirds of the N at planting and one-third at V10; and 3) applying their total amount of N at planting, followed by additional N at VT. Both split applications were made with the 360 Y-DROP applicator for precise placement at the stalk base. (2015 Answer Plot data based on six locations in Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.)

Precise N usage adds bushels

When compared to the total N application at planting, trial results showed average yield increases of 9.4 bushels per acre with the split application at planting/V10, and 11.2 bushels per acre with the total N application at planting followed by additional N at VT. By making the second applications at V10 and VT, plants received an N boost during the crucial V10 to R2 growth stage, when corn needs 50 percent of its total nitrogen.

“Our N trial not only demonstrates the importance of feeding the crop at the right time, it also showcases how advanced applicator technology can help get the most benefit from each application,” says Kevin Eye, vice president, agronomy and product development, Winfield US. “These results verify that how we allocate inputs can have a big impact on bottom-line profits as well as the environmental costs of applying excess N.”

Focused inputs generate best returns

Other key Answer Plot trial results in 2015 also reinforced the value of focusing input investments where they will deliver the greatest returns throughout the farm operation.

“To help farmers weather ongoing low commodity prices, we continue to focus our research on areas that will help farmers understand that prosperity in today’s market doesn’t necessarily come from spending less – it comes from spending smarter,” Eye notes. “As we evaluate new products and tools, we share objective, data-based insights that can help farmers be successful next season and beyond.”

Additional key learnings from 2015 trials include:

• Response to fungicide (RTF) scores pinpoint yield advantages from fungicide applications. Trials including 112 hybrids showed that RTF scores accurately predict the effectiveness of fungicide treatments, helping farmers determine when applications are economically beneficial.

• Soybean seed blends provide optimal performance in diverse environments. In regional Answer Plot trials, soybean seed blends (WinPak varieties) consistently outperformed their individual component varieties across three maturity groups.

• Timely applications of copper consistently improve wheat yield. Yield response to 10-34-0 plus MAX-IN Copper foliar application at the 4- to 5-leaf stage was 5.4 bushels greater than with 10-34-0 alone.

• Sound trial data projects hybrid performance in local environments. Farmers can be confident that a hybrid will perform as expected when they use a data-based tool like the WinField CHT Tool (a component of the R7 Tool) to choose seed based solely on its genetic benefits.

Ongoing program provides in-field benefits

The Answer Plot Program continues to lead the industry with unrivaled research and demonstration programs. In its 18th year, the program features Answer Plot trials conducted at 191 locations across 32 states, and produces more than 5 million data points at local, regional and national levels.

Information from the program helps WinField deliver customized farming recommendations and cutting-edge technology tools that help farmers make the smartest decisions for each field.

For more information about Answer Plot Program results, timely agronomic information and Answer Plot events in the coming season, visit Or contact your WinField agronomist for more details.