no free lunch,” in that nitrogen requirements have increased in kind. The trend is expected to continue, meaning an additional 0.69 pounds of nitrogen per acre requirement year over year. “As yield increases, there will be additional need for nitrogen. That doesn’t mean we need to dump a bunch on it,” says DeBruin. Like Quinn, he believes careful, calculated application is the key. Whether there are notable nitrogen response differences between hybrids is a matter of some contention, however, partly because of the inherent difficulty in matching yield gains to early positive responses to the nutrient. DeBruin’s research has shown notable differences in the past, but replication has proven difficult. “We don’t have enough info and prediction power to make good claims,” he says. “Yes, you can document it at specific locations and years, but if you try to replicate it over a number of locations and years it goes away.” Consequently, hybrid selection should not be considered a critical management strategy with regards to nitrogen. “Go for a top yielding hybrid and manage your nitrogen relative to the environment,” says DeBruin. l ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 13 APRIL/MAY 2022 As yield increases, there will be additional need for nitrogen. That doesn't mean we need to dump a bunch on it. Careful, calculated application is key.