Fall Commercial Fertilizer Prohibited in BGMA

Fall Commercial Fertilizer Prohibited in BGMA


Attention Producers in the Bazile Groundwater Management Area of the Lewis and Clark NRD
“Application of fall commercial fertilizer prohibited”

With harvest in full swing and preparation for next year’s crop getting underway, the Lewis and Clark Natural Resources District (LCNRD) would like to remind landowners and crop producers in the Bazile Groundwater Management Area (BGMA) that fall commercial fertilizer application is prohibited. Townships regulated by LCNRD include all of Creighton Township, all of Cleveland Township except sections 25-27 and 34-36, and sections 6, 7, 18, and 19 of Columbia Township. If you apply commercial fertilizer it is required that no application take place between September 30, 2019 and March 1, 2020. Directors of LCNRD implemented commercial fertilizer application regulations in 2004 with the development of the BGMA to improve groundwater quality of the region and protect the City of Creighton’s drinking water source.

LCNRD requires water quality testing for irrigation wells and deep soil sampling for cropped acres in the BGMA. Knowing how much nitrogen is available to the crop from irrigation water and the soil is essential to determining how much N is needed to achieve realistic yield goals while protecting groundwater from potential leaching of excess nitrogen. Knowledge of what is available to the crop through irrigation water and soil nitrogen sources improves estimates for N application rates when based on total N requirements for the crop to be grown. When excess N is applied it is typically flushed past the root zone by precipitation or irrigation, eventually contaminating groundwater. This also results in additional expense for the producer.

The importance of proper timing in N fertilizer application on the sandy soils of the Creighton area cannot be emphasized enough. Nitrogen applied to these soils prior to the growth stage of the crop can result in leaching of nitrogen to the groundwater below. It is recommended that nitrogen be “spoon fed” to the crop to avoid over application. Some methods to improve nitrogen fertilizer efficiency and minimize over application and leaching, include fertigation, sidedressing, nitrification and urease inhibitors, slow release formulation, irrigation management and setting realistic yield goals (Ferguson, UNL, 2011)  These methods are effective management methods for keeping nitrogen available throughout the growing season while minimizing leaching potential.

The Lewis and Clark NRD offers a deep soil sampling cost share in order to determine N credits from the soil, 50% cost share is available for acres located in the LCNRD portion of the GWMA. Application forms are available from the LCNRD, through local crop consultants, and online at .