Just outside Lewis, Kansas, in the south central part of the state, John Mundhenke runs a diversified operation.
Mundhenke grows corn, soybeans, alfalfa, milo and wheat. “We also run a cow herd—stocker feeders. We have some native grass available and some grain storage,” he said.
He uses irrigated circles for some crops. And although his area isn’t generally high in precipitation, he has experienced problems with leaching.
“Ten or 15 years ago we went to strip till to try to conserve the amount of fertilizer we were putting down. We felt we were being more efficient by putting it down in the strip where the crop is planted,” Mundhenke said.
“Yet we’ve also learned there are times when it gets away from us, and it’s maybe a mistake to put too much down too early if the crop can’t catch up to it.”
“We’ve always spoon fed the crop throughout the course of the growing season, but we’re getting a little more apprehensive about putting too much down prior to planting. You think you’re going to conserve but you end up spending more money to catch up,” he said.
Last season, Mundhenke tried NZONE, a nitrogen management aid from AgXplore, on corn acres.
“I applied the NZONE to irrigated corn ground with 32 percent liquid nitrogen in a strip till application prior to planting the crop,” he said.
“I put it on half an irrigated circle with both halves treated the same way, minus the NZONE on the other half.”
Mundhenke saw quite a difference in the two halves. “My results were very positive. I had a 21 to 25 bushel per acre average yield increase on the NZONE-applied acres.”
While he hasn’t yet calculated the ROI, he says the product more than pays for itself.
NZONE has been shown in trials to reduce leaching by 47 percent. Mundhenke suspects the product’s nitrogen management properties helped create the yield increase in his trial.
“In the past two years or maybe three, we’ve had a tremendous amount of rainfall early. And that’s where the NZONE shined this past year,” he said.
Mundhenke says he’d recommend NZONE and plans to use it on more acres this year, working with his AgXplore representative, Carolyn Wingate.
“I’m willing to try more acres this upcoming growing season,” he said. “I think it’s worth it. I want to see more results and I want to see more data—and I can hang my hat on it further the more reliable it becomes.”
Wingate says, “Seeing is believing, with NZONE. It’s one thing to see data, but it’s completely different to see results for yourself time and time again.”
“I can’t think of a grower that did a side-by-side plot that will not be using NZONE again this year,” she says. “Growers will be sold not only because of the visual difference of the roots and the plants, but more importantly, the return on investment. They’re seeing more bushels and more money from the initial nitrogen investment. It’s all about making more with less.”