Some topics grab my attention more than others, so I’m glad I attended Peter Scharf’s session on nitrogen sensors in corn production at last week’s Iowa Soybean Association’s On-Farm Network conference.

There were two good takeaways from this event. During the 4 years from 2008 through 2011, yield losses in the U.S. totaled 2 billion bushels due to the loss of nitrogen, Scharf says. But the good news, he adds, is that corn growers can take remedial action after they detect or suspect that nitrogen has been lost.

Additionally, Cornell University researchers gave a presentation about their Adapt-N method of calculating whether growers need additional nitrogen for their crops.

I wasn’t able to sit on this session, but I did get to visit Iowa strip-tiller Frank Moore, who spent the day showing me fields that he’s strip-tilled and no-tilled. In addition to farming, Moore is a crop consultant who works with three other Iowa crop consultants to test the Adapt-N program in Iowa. Moore likes what he learned in 2011 and the money it saved, and you can read more about it in this newsletter.

How do you assess your nitrogen use and decide if additional nitrogen needs to be applied? And if you’re splitting your nitrogen applications in strip-tilled corn, how are you doing that? Are you using a visual, aerial or sensor-based assessment?