ISA will provide variable rate nitrogen prescriptions i

ISA will provide variable rate nitrogen prescriptions in 1.5 to 5 acre blocks for farmers as part of the Iowa Nitrogen Initiative trial (Photo: Iowa Soybean Association).

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October 13, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is partnering with Iowa State University (ISU) to help farmers better understand and predict the optimum nitrogen fertilizer rate within and across farmers’ fields.

“We have worked a long time on nitrogen rate trials and understanding nitrogen use. Our focus has been on how nitrogen responds by landscape and soils,” says Scott Nelson, ISA senior field services program manager.

Through the Iowa Nitrogen Initiative trial, ISA is assisting ISU in updating the Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN) tool and supporting various crop modeling and predictive models.

“Iowa State is trying to improve their MRTN tool with new on-farm data,” says Nelson. “We think that is a worthy endeavor, so we are trying to help ISU.”

ISA will provide a variable rate nitrogen prescription of five nitrogen rates, created by Premier Crop Systems, into blocks in a field ranging in size from 1.5 to 5 acres. The trial includes either fall or spring application – whatever fits within the farmer’s operation.

“It is straightforward for the farmer to plug it into their system or give it to their applicator and apply those rates,” says Nelson. “It is extremely valuable data for them because they can understand nitrogen rates from data on their farm, and also look at data from other farms and see how it compares to help make adjustments on their nitrogen rates.”