The leaching of nitrate to groundwater and the increasing occurrence of groundwater with excessive nitrate levels for human consumption is a major concern in Nebraska. The amount of leached NO3- depends on soil NO3- concentration at different soil depth layers and the quantity of water movement downward through these soil layers to beyond the root zone.
Soil amendments are any materials that when added to soil will improve its properties and processes. Amendments such as lime, gypsum, manure, or biochar can provide many benefits to production systems by improving soil chemical, physical, and biological properties. Some examples of production benefits from amendments include raising pH, adding nutrients, increasing soil organic matter, mitigating salt-affected soils, and improving soil water storage.
Fall fertilizer applications offer cost savings and time management benefits, but also may contribute to increased soil nitrate-N leaching. With Nebraska's high soil moisture levels, consider these suggestions when applying nitrogen this fall.
Preliminary results are in from the first year of a two-year study to evaluate how soil N levels affect protein in Nebraska wheat and to provide data to revise UNL fertility recommendations for dryland wheat.
The Nebraska Extension Circular, Nutrient Management Suggestions for Corn (EC117), has been updated to account for residual soil nitrate-N and provide an alternative for determining fertilizer-P rates.