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ALLGANIC® NITROGEN PLUS

Sodium Nitrate as an Input for Use in Organic Crop Production

Natural Sodium Nitrate, a.k.a. Chilean Nitrate- OMRI listed (15-0-2) is available in a dry, flowable prill form that is also 100% water-soluble. It is marketed by the Chilean producer, SQM, under the brand name: Allganic™ Nitrogen Plus 15-0-2.

Sodium Nitrate is an organic nitrate nitrogen nutrient source, sustainably derived from natural rock deposits found in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The best practice as a grower is to maximize the effect of a small amount by applying it when temperatures are low and soils do not have the ability to produce readily available nitrate-nitrogen.

Keep in mind that sodium nitrate should be used as an integral part of an overall nitrogen strategy, supplementing other nutrient sources such as manure, compost, cover crops, crop rotations, etc.. Under these circumstances, for fruit and vegetable crops, feed every 10-14 days, liquid or dry. These nutrient applications are much more efficient when split into multiple applications at low rates. For field crops, using sodium nitrate in a 2 x 2 application at planting, and following up with foliar and /or side dressing applications (liquid or dry) will help maximize your production.

Hide Prospective Application Rates for Sodium Nitrate

Current NOP Requirement: Operators using Sodium Nitrate shall use it in a manner that maintains or improves the natural resources of the operation, including soil and water quality, and comply with crop nutrient and soil fertility requirements of 7 CFR 205.203(b): producers must manage crop nutrients and soil fertility through rotations, cover crops, and the application of plant and animal nutrients. Always check with your certifier for application rate verification.

SQM urges the utilization of responsible organic nutrient practices and recommends no more than 20% of your total crop nitrogen need come from sodium nitrate. Splitting total rate into multiple applications is advised.

All lbs/per acre applications

Growing Crops

Total Crop N Needs

20% of Crop N Needs

Estimated Amount
of Sodium Nitrate 15-0-2

Field Crops

Wheat, Oats, Barley, Spelt

80-150

16-30

107-200#

Tobacco

100-120

20-24

133-160#

Corn

120-180

24-36

160-240#

Pasture-grass

100-120

20-24

133-160#

Cotton

80-120

16-20

107-133#

Fruit & Vegetables

Apple

100-150

20-30

133-200#

Blueberry

80-100

16-20

107-133#

Citrus

100-200

20-40

133-267#

Almond

200-300

40-60

267-400#

Peach

100-150

20-30

133-200#

Potatoes

180-200

36-40

240-267#

Cole Crops

150-175

24-35

160-233#

Green Beans

60-80

12-16

80-107#

Cucurbits

100-150

20-30

133-200#

Onions, Leeks, Garlic

100-150

20-30

133-200#

Tomatoes/Melons/Peppers

120-180

24-36

160-240#

Carrots

100-150

20-30

133-200#

Baby Greens/Spinach

80-120

16-24

107-160#

Sweet Corn

120-180

24-36

160-240#

Lettuce

100-150

20-30

133-200#

Celery

180-200

36-40

240-267#


Observations and Field Trials on the Use of Sodium Nitrate on Growing Crops

  • Very useful as a supplemental nitrate nitrogen source for corn early in the growing season- 4-7th leaf.
    • Iowa State University trial showed statistically significant yield increase of 32 bu/ac.
      • 3 ton/ac chicken manure (pre-plant): 108 bu/ac.
      • 3 ton/ac chicken manure (pre-plant) + 225 lbs/ac sodium nitrate (30 days after planting): 140 bu/ac.
  • Improves biomass yield, forage quality and palatability of grass pastures.
    • Minnesota research demonstrated 3 foliar sprays of 14 lbs sodium nitrate/ac (1 spray per grazing period) created a statistically significant biomass yield increase of 4,300 lb/ac (total increase after 3 grazing periods) and Relative Forage Quality increase of 26 index points (avg. increase over 3 grazing periods).
  • Farmers report increased early harvest yields in early season Cole crops.
    • Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbage do really well- more than double production in early harvest.
  • Very good source of supplemental nitrate nitrogen for winter wheat and small grains in early spring.
    • Iowa State University research reports statistically significant increase in both yields and protein.
      • Wheat following soybean: 37 bu/ac. 11% protein.
      • Wheat following soybean + 160 lbs/ac sodium nitrate (top dressed in early spring): 45 bu/ac. 12% protein.
  • Farmers report improved barley and oat yields where soil sodium levels are low- these crops require high sodium.
  • For high nitrogen demanding crops (fruit and vegetables) for which other nutrient sources are not readily available, a weekly/bi-weekly “spoon feeding” program will pay big dividends.


Pasture Application Guidelines

2 ways to apply sodium nitrate as a supplemental nutrient source on pasture:

  1. Foliar spray– 10-20 lbs sodium nitrate per 10-20 gal per acre.
    1. Most effective, but requires 4-5 applications/season (2-3 week intervals).
    2. Results in greenup and palatability in three days. Research results show production will be enhanced for up to 10 weeks.
  2. Dry broadcast – up to 150# per acre.
    1. Very effective results- Greenup will begin in 10 days and continue to release nitrogen over 30 days.
    2. Excellent long term affect.
    3. No need for multiple applications, but rate can be split into 2 application timings 1 month apart.


Greenhouse Application Guidelines:

  • For plugs feed at 50 to 150 ppm N once per week depending on growth stage.
  • For vegetables, bedding plants and cut flowers, feed at 100 to 200 ppm N with constant liquid feeding. Use 200 to 400 ppm N for pulse feeding every 7-10 days.

Fertilized required per volume of concentrate, 15-0-2 (for continuous liquid feed programs):

ppm N

50

75

100

200

E.C. (m5/cm)

0.5

0.7

0.9

1.7

injertor ratio

ounces/gal

15 (hozon)

0.67

1.00

1.34

2.68

50

2.22

3.33

4.44

8.90

100

4.44

6.70

8.90

17.80

128

5.70

8.55

11.40

22.80

200

8.90

13.35

17.80

35.60

E.C. values are approximate. Use E.C. levels to verify appropriate feeding level from the injector. Adjust for the E.C. of the irrigation water. For concentrations greater than 200 ppm, simply add.

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OMRI, The Organic Materials Review Institute, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit' organization that specializes in the review of substances for use in organic production, processing, and handling.

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