By: Ken Panchuk, PAg, Provincial Specialist, Soils
The soil across most of Saskatchewan has cooled well below 10 C. Fall banding of urea and anhydrous ammonia could be underway on fields where soil conditions allow for good flow of soil around the openers to close the furrows.
Urea and anhydrous ammonia banded in late fall converts to ammonium form of nitrogen, which has a positive charge. Soil particles and organic matter have a negative charge, thereby attracting the negative-charged ammonium ion and holding it. Having the banded nitrogen convert to ammonium form provides the best protection against losses during winter and early spring.
Fall banding urea and anhydrous ammonia is a best management practice (BMP) in Saskatchewan. Research in the province has shown that fall banding can be as effective and efficient as nitrogen banded during spring seeding. Fall banding provides other advantages too, such as generally lower prices, no storage cost, reduced logistics and labour during the busy spring, and an opportunity to level fields and spread crop residues.
Fall banding urea and anhydrous ammonia fits the industry-led 4R nutrient stewardship principles: the Right Source, applied at the Right Rate, Right Time and Right Placement.
For more information on fall banding, contact your nearest Regional Crops Specialist or the Agriculture Knowledge Center at 1-866-457-2377.