Preparation for next year: Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 4:14 PM CST
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(25 NEWS) - What do farmers do when they’re done with harvest? They prep for next year’s crop.

Let’s talk fertilizer with John Rebholz of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.

“Anhydrous ammonia is a form of nitrogen. In a sense, it’s going to feed that next year’s corn crop.

So the nitrogen is placed down in the fall of the year, when ground temperatures are 50 degrees below. And we’re going to also utilize a stabilizer to make sure that that nitrogen is back when we come back the following year is still present.

Once we lay that seed down in the furrow, typically you’ll see a tractor, along with an applicator or a toolbar, and behind that toolbar, you will typically see a white tank. And that’s what that anhydrous ammonia is a form of nitrogen or fertilizer.

The big white tank is typically going to be around 1000 gallon anhydrous. Ammonia is actually held under pressure. It’s a liquid, but it’s held under pressure and it’s actually injected into the soil when released into the atmosphere. It is an inhalation hazard, although as long as the grower is utilizing the proper PPE and following the proper procedures, it can be applied very safe and efficiently. And the best thing to do is for the grower to make sure that they’re utilizing their PPE, their chemical splash goggles, along with the anhydrous ammonia gloves, making sure of the wind direction and also being aware of their surroundings as well.

If there is an incident or an accident, the first phone call that you should be making is to 911 and specifically letting those folks, those emergency responders, know it is anhydrous ammonia so the emergency responders can prepare accordingly to combat that release or incident that you may have for.

For the grower themselves is PPE is the key along with adequate water. Water is the best first aid treatment for anhydrous ammonia if you are exposed. Fresh air, freshwater So it’s always a good practice to at least put a gallon of water in your tractor cab or you’re towing vehicle.

Yes, the nurse tanks or the little white tanks that you see typically have five gallons on each container, but sometimes you may not be able to get to that safety water. So it’s always a good practice to have a gallon water jug in the tractor or the towing vehicle your pickup truck.”

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