Anhydrous ammonia applications and corn planting

April 14, 2016 10:05 AM
Blog Post

It seems that anhydrous ammonia (AA) applications and planting may fall very close together on the timeline of events this spring. This could be concerning with drying soils and lack of significant rainfall chances in the near future.

Important notes to remember:

1) Application procedures are key to avoiding injury to corn seedlings. Deep injection (6-8 inches) and a good seal on the knife track are the best ways to avoid AA placed in or movement into the root zone.

  • AA has greater opportunity to move from the initial injection site in coarse, dry, or cloddy soils
  • If you can smell ammonia after your field pass, adjust equipment or wait for better conditions

2) Adjust planting plans to help reduce opportunity for crop injury. There is no magic number of days to wait to avoid injury; time can help, but won’t prevent injury. However, other precautions can be taken:

  • Do not plant directly over AA knife tracks
  • Using GPS technology to offset planter rows 4-6 inches or more from the anhydrous knife tracks is another good option to try to avoid injury
  • AA applications on an angle from direction of crop planting are a way to reduce crop exposure to AA bands

John Sawyer wrote a nice article on this in the fall of 2011 that is still relevant today: Anhydrous Ammonia Application and Dry Soils.


Meaghan Anderson Field Agronomist in Central Iowa

Meaghan Anderson is a field agronomist in central Iowa and an extension field specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Educational programming is available for farmers, agribusinesses, pesticide applicators, certified crop advisors, and other individuals interested in...