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Nitrogen, Atrazine Use Prevalent in Iowa's Growing Season
Iowa Ag Connection - 05/14/2019

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Agricultural Chemical Use Program is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's official source of statistics about on-farm and post-harvest fertilizer and pesticide use and pest management practices.

In the fall of 2018, NASS collected data for the 2018 crop year, the one-year period beginning after the 2017 harvest and ending after the 2018 harvest, about chemical use and pest management practices used on corn and soybean production. The data was collected as part of the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and the results are presented here.

Fertilizer Use: Of the three primary macronutrients, nitrogen (N) was the most widely used on corn. Iowa farmers applied nitrogen to 97 percent of planted acres at an average rate of 139 pounds per acre per year. Macronutrients phosphate (P) and potash (K) were applied to the majority of acres, at an average rate of 74 and 89 pounds per acre per year, respectively. The secondary macronutrient, sulfur (S), was applied to 22 percent of acres planted to corn.

Pesticide Use: Herbicide active ingredients were applied to 95 percent of the corn acres planted in Iowa. Atrazine was the most widely used pesticide overall applied to 56 percent of the planted acres. Acetochlor was the active ingredient with the greatest total amount applied in Iowa. Fungicide and insecticide active ingredients were applied to 32 percent and 18 percent of corn acres planted, respectively.

The 2018 Agricultural Chemical Use Survey of soybean producers collected data about fertilizer and pesticide use as well as pest management practices in growing soybeans.

Fertilizer refers to a soil-enriching input that contains one or more plant nutrients, primarily nitrogen (N), phosphate (P2O5), and potash (K2O). Of the three primary macronutrients, potash was the most widely used on soybeans acres planted in Iowa. Farmers applied potash to 32 percent of planted acres at an average rate of 86 pounds per acre per year. Macronutrients nitrogen and phosphate were applied at an average rate of 14 and 59 pounds per acre per year, respectively. The secondary macronutrient, sulfur, was applied to 8 percent of acres planted to soybeans.

The pesticide active ingredients used on soybeans are classified in this report as herbicides (targeting weeds), insecticides (targeting insects), and fungicides (targeting fungal disease). Herbicide active ingredients were applied to 100 percent of the soybean acres planted. Glyphosate isopropylamine salt was the most widely used pesticide on soybean acres, but glyphosate propylamine salt was the active ingredient with the greatest total amount applied. Fungicides and insecticides were both applied to 19 percent of soybean acres planted in Iowa.

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