For higher corn yields, there are many management factors for a grower to consider — what to plant, when to plant it, what’s in their rotation and what makes up their in-season weed control. But another big factor is nitrogen management. For Canadian growers, an environmentally sustainable plan for season-long nutrition is critical. Those who added new Utrisha N to their nitrogen program in 2022 saw the benefit of the biological product first-hand.
“We had a really great first season across Canada,” says Kirsten Ratzlaff, Portfolio Marketing Manager with Corteva. “We ran another large-scale trial program during the season and collected some great data, as well as received a lot of feedback from first-time users on their experience with Utrisha N. What we’ve seen and what we’ve heard have backed up our expectations.”
Utrisha N is a foliar-applied nutrient-efficiency biostimulant that makes nitrogen accessible to the plant throughout the growing season. It captures nitrogen gas from the air and converts it to nitrogen for the plant, where it remains available throughout its life.
Ratzlaff says the product has been well-embraced by growers. As the nitrogen became more accessible to the crop throughout the season, growers noted an increased greening effect which translated into in higher yields and an excellent return on investment.
She says the best ROI comes from a plan that balances Utrisha N with applications of traditional fertilizer. Simply applying more fertilizer throughout the season does not necessarily make its nutrients available when they are needed. If the plant doesn’t make use of the fertilizer, it can be lost to the air or though leaching.
Ratzlaff says Utrisha N helps corn growers get the optimal amount of nitrogen to their crop without risking losses through leaching or denitrification.
“All growers have a desire to make sure their operations are more sustainable but in particular, farmers who operate under conditions with high water levels, a product that does not experience losses to water is particularly appealing. They can feel good about embracing biologicals as an important addition to their nitrogen program.”
The numbers tell the story
Corteva now has data on Utrisha N for two seasons. 2021 and 2022 data from 78 corn sites in Eastern Canada showed an average increase of 2.3 bu/ac. 65 percent of the time, Utrisha N delivered a positive yield response with an average of 5.4 bu/ac.
“In 2022 we got out there and set up as many field trials as possible so we could collect as much yield data as we could,” says Lisanne Emond, Territory Manager with Corteva. “We really wanted to inform growers that this is a sustainable source of nutrition and that they should think about it as an important addition to their fertilizer program. In our post-harvest customer survey, 100 percent of the Utrisha N customers in Quebec are planning to use it again next year.”
Utrisha N is sprayed directly on the plant, either alone or as a tank mix with an herbicide or fungicide. It enters the stomata (small pores on the leaves) and colonizes leaf cells at high populations. This biological product uses no plant energy to function. Instead, Utrisha N uses methanol, a natural byproduct of plant growth, to multiply and thrive. In return, it provides the plant with nitrogen while doing so.
Utrisha N is applied in corn and soybeans at V4-V8 and has access to the crop in ways that traditional fertilizer may not. When conditions are very dry, traditional fertilizer struggles to access the roots. Alternatively, in-season fertilizer can run off in wet conditions. In both scenarios, Utrisha N stays in the plant and remains stable as it works.
“Our customers in this region have a vision of agriculture as cleaner and greener with less impact on what is around them,” says Emond. “While they need nitrogen all season long for a successful crop, Utrisha N reduces the dependence on nitrogen in the soil throughout the growing season. Providing these alternatives is why Corteva will continue to invest in biologicals in the portfolio.”
Emond stresses that Utrisha N is not a replacement for traditional fertilizer.
“We need to think about crop nutrition differently and products like Utrisha N work complementary to fertilizer applied at the beginning of the season. It should become part of a grower’s fertility program, the way split applications have in the past.”
“We have been working with growers through our retailers and agronomists to spread the word and encourage growers to consider adding Utrisha N to their fertilization plans for this year. Together with our trial results, we hope to show how this new product can have a positive impact on their bottom line,” says Emond.