The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide producers and farm managers with information that will help quantify the amount of ammonia loss that occurs when they apply manure on land. It also provides them with information regarding the factors that positively and negatively affect these losses. The fact sheet is also a good source of information on best management practices producers could use to mitigate and control ammonia losses from the land application of manure.
Many farmers are interested in adding an anhydrous ammonia application system to their one-pass direct seeding planter systems. This is a practical option if a suitable ground opener can be found that ensures separation of the anhydrous ammonia (NH3) from the seed row and also seals the soil surface to prevent escape of NH3. However, NH3 requires careful handling to ensure personal safety.
Proper nutrition is essential for satisfactory crop growth and production. The use of soil tests can help to determine the status of plant available nutrients to develop fertilizer recommendations to achieve optimum crop production. The profit potential for farmers depends on producing enough crop per acre to keep production costs below the selling price. Efficient application of the correct types and amounts of fertilizers for the supply of nutrients is an important part of achieving profitable yields.
This fact sheet provides a summary about the effectiveness of fall nitrogen fertilization.
The need for micronutrients in crop production have long been recognized in Alberta. Zinc deficiencies in irrigated beans in southern Alberta were detected in the early 1980s. Research by Alberta Agriculture and Agriculture Canada has clearly shown the need for copper fertilizer particularly for wheat grown on organic soils and on some Black and Grey-Black soils in central Alberta. One million acres may be copper deficient in central Alberta. Some suspected manganese deficiencies are presently being investigated. Continued research and testing is required to identify when various crops will give economic yield increases to additions of micronutrient fertilizers.
For optimum crop production, an adequate supply of P close to the seed during the first six weeks of growth and an adequate amount of P in the soil for the rest of the season are ideal. Placement of P in-row with cereal and oilseed crops has been the traditional method used for P fertilization in Alberta. Pre-plant banding of P with nitrogen has been found to be a good alternative method of application under certain conditions. However, under conditions of low to medium soil P coupled with low soil temperatures, 'starter' P in the seed row is frequently very beneficial for annual crops.
Potassium (K) is required by all plant and animal life. While potassium is not a commonly limiting soil nutrient in crop production in Alberta, about 15 per cent of Alberta soils used for annual crop production are estimated to have slight to moderate potassium deficiency.
Sulphur is required in the development of fertile canola flowers and must be present for good nodule development on legume forages such as alfalfa and pulse crop roots such as pea and faba bean.