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MN Corn Offering Free Nitrate Screenings
Minnesota Ag Connection - 04/02/2024

This spring, Minnesota Corn is once again offering free nitrate screenings to corn farmers. The screenings are an easy way to better understand water conditions and the potential for nutrient loss on your farm.

If you are interested in submitting a sample for testing or have questions, please contact your MCGA District Field Manager. Free testing will be offered throughout the spring and early summer, and results are confidential.

Collecting a sample for testing is simple.

To take a sample of ditch, stream, or tile water:

-Collect 1 cup of water in a clean plastic or glass container.

-Freeze sample after collection. Remove from freezer only when you bring the sample for testing and allow time for the sample to thaw.

Samples taken and analyzed the same day do not need to be frozen, just kept cool.

To take a sample of well water:

-Run your cold tap for 5-10 minutes.

-Collect about 1 cup of water in a clean plastic or glass container.

-Follow the same storage process used for ditch, stream, or tile water. One sample per well is sufficient for screening.

Interpretation of nitrate levels from surface water or water collected from agricultural drainage systems can vary year to year due to fluctuations in precipitation and temperature, crop growth, and the layout of existing tile systems. Interpretation of drinking water samples is fairly straightforward, as the federal standard for nitrate of 10 mg/l has been in place for nearly 70 years.

Through their investment in the Minnesota corn check-off, corn farmers invest more than $2 million annually in research and education that improves on-farm practices and identifies new markets for the state’s corn crop. This includes research, education, and best practice adoption that increases the efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer use.

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