Cheating on Banding Depth Puts Urea at Risk

Just because nitrogen fertilizer is placed below the soil surface doesn’t mean it’s going to stay there for plants to use it. In fact, if it’s not buried deep enough, you might be better off broadcasting it on top of the soil, says the senior agronomist for Koch Agronomic Services.

Whether for equipment reasons, with more fertilizer being applied at seeding, or farmers wanting to drive faster, there’s more shallow banding of fertilizer than there used to be.

“Practices have changed with people for example side-banding their fertilizer. When you’re seeding canola at 1/2″ or 1″, inadvertently your fertilizer is side-banded at 1″ or 1 1/2″. As a result the depth of banding is not the same,” explains Rigas Karamanos. “People also mid-row band and although they’re supposed to go at a 3 or 4″ depth, they want to go faster, so they lift the mid-row bander.”

By definition, banding urea or UAN leaves a concentrated band in the soil, which creates a microenvironment with high pH.

“As a result you have volatilization of nitrogen, but with deep banding there’s enough soil atop of the band to stop the diffusion of the ammonia gas that is being produced,” he says. “When you shallow band, unfortunately that doesn’t happen.”

Weather is a factor in how much volatilization occurs (rain may move it deeper into the soil profile,) but Karamanos recommends deep banding or the use of an enhanced efficiency fertilizer product to protect the fertilizer for the 10 to 12 days between seeding and the time when nitrogen uptake usually spikes in wheat or canola.

He shared the results from his 2014 trials in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta at the Farm Forum Event in Saskatoon earlier this month. Comparisons of broadcast, shallow-banded and deep-banded urea, as well as urea treated with Agrotain and Super U, will be repeated in 2015.


One thought on “Cheating on Banding Depth Puts Urea at Risk

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Preference Center


Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

gdpr, __cfduid, PHPSESSID, wordpress_test_cookie, woocommerce_items_in_cart, woocommerce_cart_hash, wp_woocommerce_session, wordpress_logged_in, wordpress_sec, wp-settings, wp-settings-time, __cf_mob_redir, wordpress_cache, realag


Measuring interactions with the ads on the domain.



These are used to track user interaction and detect potential problems. These help us improve our services by providing analytical data on how users use this site.



Preference cookies enable the website to remember information that changes the way the website behaves or looks, like your preferred language or the region that you are in.

chartdefaults, comment_author, comment_author_email, comment_author_url
JSESSIONID, _os_session,anonymous_votes,csrf-param,csrf-token,user,user-id,user-platform,intercom-session,intercom-lou,intercom-session
personalization_id, tfw_exp


Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.