Farmers Use Different Methods to Manage Nitrogen
This is my cousin Chad's nitrogen side dress applicator. Chad bought an old 30-foot tool bar, high-speed disk coulters, pump and the tanks to build this rig. He can apply liquid nitrogen a couple of inches deep so you do not have to be concerned about the nitrogen volatizing or evaporating into the air. Covering 30 feet and traveling 7.5 mph, he can cover almost 30 acres an hour.
In the past I have had my nitrogen applied all at one time late in the fall or early in the spring. The University of Minnesota has developed the Best Management Practices for managing nitrogen. Because of our high organic matter, fine texture, loam soils in southern Minnesota, we are less likely to see our nitrogen leached down through the soil profile with heavy rains. So, it is still a best management practice to apply all your nitrogen at one time.
However, many farmers are moving to a split application and side dressing nitrogen during the growing season. This is added insurance just in case we do get really heavy rains during the spring. I was planning on applying 130 pounds of actual nitrogen. Early this spring I had my co-op apply 100 pounds of nitrogen before planting. Now when the corn is growing and not far from its peak nitrogen demand, I had Chad apply another 30 pounds of liquid nitrogen.