By Thom Weir, Senior Precision Agronomist
This last post of this Back to Basics Soil Fertility series focuses on Nitrogen (N). This is by far the most important, the most complicated, the most controversial and possibly the least understood nutrient commonly used by farmers.
N is critical to making crops grow, mature and produce grain. Crops lacking N produce small, pale green plants that produce poor yield, poor quality grain and is prone to many diseases. On the other hand, crop with adequate N looks vigorous and healthy. The dark green colour we equate to a healthy plant is a result of an adequate amount of N.
At over 2M tonnes used in in Western Canada in 2018, N accounts for more tonnes of fertilizers than all the other nutrients combined! It also accounts for more yield increase than all other nutrients combined.