Getting ahead with BIG N

Growers looking to get a jump on next season are being advised they can fertilise paddocks set aside for cotton and summer crops as early as this month.

According to Bede O’Mara, Technical Agronomist with Incitec Pivot Fertilisers, growers using BIG N® (anhydrous ammonia) can apply their nitrogen fertiliser months prior to planting.

“In the right soil conditions, BIG N can be applied well in advance of intended planting and still be in the soil ready for this year’s summer crops,” Mr O’Mara said.

He said growers had good reason to consider applying nitrogen early.

“Early BIG N applications help make sure there is enough nitrogen in the plant available nitrate form in the soil profile at a depth where the crop will need it most – in the root zone,” he said.

He added that getting the job done early may also have efficiency benefits for growers and reduce their reliance on topdress or sidedress nitrogen applications through the season.

BIG N offers a high concentration of nitrogen and the convenience of on-farm delivery for efficient operations.

Mr O’Mara said paddock selection was important for growers considering bringing their nitrogen application forward.

“The key is selecting paddocks best able to retain nitrogen for longer periods without denitrification losses,” he said.

He advised growers to choose paddocks with low levels of stored soil moisture and little or no compaction, subsoil constraints and good soil structure. 

“Often the best paddocks are recently harvested summer crop blocks going back into summer crop, because soil moisture is likely to be lower, so the potential for waterlogging is also lower,” he said.

“However, if stubble from the previous crop has been incorporated into the soil, allow some time for it to begin to break down before applying BIG N.”

He said the ideal timing for early BIG N applications was when soil temperatures were below 17 degrees C and falling and the probability of high intensity or high frequency rainfall was low. 

“Also take care with the position and depth of placement of BIG N to avoid the potential for crop damage,” he said.

Mr O’Mara advised growers to apply BIG N 10 cm below and 10 cm to the side of the intended plant line.
“It’s not for everyone and every situation, but there are growers who are successfully applying BIG N for cotton and summer crops as early as May and June each year,” he said.

For more information, see your local BIG N accredited field service representative or visit or call 1800 003 830.

® BIG N is a registered trademark of Incitec Pivot Limited.