High Nitrate Levels May Impact Spring Seeding Decisions

Oct 13, 2021

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Some farmers are reporting high nitrate (N) levels in the soil.

Cassandra Tkachuk is a production specialist with Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers.

"The high nitrate levels can pose an issue for your N-fixing crops," she commented. "Ideally, you want to see less than 50 pounds per acre of residual nitrate for pulses and soybeans. We recommend putting the high N use crops, like wheat, canola, or corn, on the fields with the greatest levels. When you're considering N-fixing crops on higher nitrate fields, take note on whether they have been grown there recently and if they have nodulated well. Heading into next year, when you're putting these N-fixing crops on those fields, also use inoculant. Also, the volunteer or regrowing crops and any cover crops that might be out there, they will help reduce the levels in some cases by up to 50 pounds per acres, but know that they're also using valuable moisture."

Tkachuk also recommends to retest the soil in the spring, because over the winter and spring, there may have been some leaching and denitrification that helped bring down those levels.

Another caution for farmers to be aware of, is the risk of herbicide carry-over and IDC in soybeans for next year.

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