To Learn About The No-till Tobacco Incentive Program

On March 25, 2019

To Learn About The No-till Tobacco Incentive Program

The planting of no-till tobacco in Lancaster County has greatly increased the last several years as more and greatly improved no-till transplanters are available.  No-till tobacco is a great fit for a tobacco grower who is already doing no-till corn and alfalfa, since it is not necessary to interrupt the no-till system to plow for tobacco. To further increase the no-till tobacco acres in the county, the Lancaster County Conservation District is again administering a No-till Tobacco Incentive Program for the 2019 growing season.  

Thanks to a National Fish & Wildlife Foundation grant, funded by the Altria Group, Inc., the program will offer an incentive payment of $100 per acre and pay the no-till transplanter rental cost for a maximum three acres of no-till tobacco.   In addition the program will pay the cost to transport the planter.  

Unfortunately the program is only for new no-till tobacco growers or those who have not grown no-till tobacco since 2014 and is limited to the first 15 growers that sign up by the April 30, 2018 deadline. The program will also provide an Ag E&S Plan and a Manure Management Plan for the farm at no cost if the farm does not have them.

Last year, 13 Lancaster County tobacco growers participated in the program, growing a total of 28 new no-till acres.

For more information or sign up, please contact Dennis Eby, Outreach Coordinator, at the Lancaster County Conservation District. His office phone is: (717) 874-2552.

To Determine The Nitrogen Source To Topdress Wheat 

Evaluating  which source of nitrogen is best to top dress wheat can be confusing. The main sources are UAN (30-0-0), Urea (46-0-0), and Ammonium Sulfate (21-0-0-24S). All are good sources of N for wheat. UAN and urea are both volatile forms which should be a consideration with these sources because of the potential for significant loss of the N. The potential loss from UAN is only half that of straight urea because UAN is only ½ urea. Losses are minimized if the urea or UAN can be applied just before around ½ inch of soaking rain. Also, the losses tend to be less at cold temperatures but even a brief warm up at the time or application can result in greater losses.

A urease inhibitor can effectively reduce volatilization losses from surface applied urea or UAN when there are the conditions for volatilization loss. Not all N additives are urease inhibitors. Check the label carefully to make sure the additive contains an effective urease inhibitor. Ammonium sulfate is non-volatile and therefore there is no benefit to adding a urease inhibitor with ammonium sulfate. The other additive type is a nitrification inhibitor. Nitrification inhibitors can reduce the loss of N through leaching and denitrification, thus nitrification inhibitors will be most beneficial on poorly drained or excessively well drained soils where these losses are most common. Nitrification inhibitors are also more beneficial when the N is applied long before plant uptake which is usually not the case with topdressed N on wheat. Also, nitrification inhibitors will be less beneficial in cold soils with ammonium sources of N applied because of the slower microbial conversion to nitrate N due to the cold weather. Consequently, nitrification inhibitors are generally less beneficial on wheat, but can be beneficial under some conditions, however, it is very difficult to predict exactly when a nitrification inhibitor will provide a benefit on wheat. Nitrification inhibitors have no effect on volatilization losses. As with the urease inhibitors, check the label to be sure the additive contains an effective nitrification inhibitor.

One other common question is sulfur on wheat. Sulfur (S) deficiencies are still pretty rare in Pennsylvania but are becoming more common. Ammonium sulfate contains 24% S, therefore applying some of the wheat N requirement in this form will also supply S. Generally, 100 lb/A of ammonium sulfate in the wheat N program, which will supply 24 lb S/A, will supply adequate S for wheat in most situations. Ammonium thiosulfate (ATS) is often used as an S source with UAN. Three to five gallons of ATS will supply 10 to 15 lb S/A. 

There have also been questions about injury to wheat topdressed with UAN containing ATS. While ATS can cause crop injury, this is usually only when the ATS is applied with starter fertilizer close to the seed. There is little indication that there is a problem with ATS applied with topdress nitrogen (N) on wheat. There has not been any research done in Pennsylvania on this. However, in looking at work done in other states and recommendations from many wheat producing areas there does not appear to be a problem directly related to ATS injury with topdressing. For example, in one study in Montana, ATS was applied straight with no dilution or other fertilizer and there was no injury. Remember that UAN itself can cause leaf burning which can be significant at higher rates, such as in overlaps. Usually, this burning is not serious and does not result in a yield reduction. However, if this injury occurs along with other stresses it could impact yield.

Quote Of The Week:Don’t keep forever on the public road, going only where others have gone. Leave the beaten track occasionally and dive into the woods. You will be certain to find something you have never seen before. Of course it will be a little thing, but do not ignore it. One discovery will lead to another, and before you know it, you will have something worth thinking about to occupy your mind, and really big discoveries are the result of thought. Alexander Graham Bell