Dry weather: Worried about high nitrates in forages?
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During periods of dry growing conditions, forage producers begin to ask about the increased risk of nitrate accumulation in forages and how best to manage them. Plants take up nitrogen from available soil sources during normal plant growth. Soil-source nitrates are used by the plant to form protein. Since photosynthesis-formed sugars are also components of protein, anything that influences normal plant growth (such as drought) will reduce protein synthesis, and nitrate (NO3) can accumulate in the plant in higher than normal amounts.