While farmers welcome improvements in seed genetics that increase corn yields, many are missing out on the full benefits by not making changes in their nitrogen application program, says agronomist Bill Mullins. At a Seed Consultants agronomy meeting in Vigo County recently, Mullins said many farmers are “missing the boat” when it comes to nitrogen application on some corn hybrids. “These new high-yielding hybrids require more nitrogen, but they also require that nitrogen to be in the plant post-flowering.” He said there is research that shows some new hybrids are taking up nitrogen much later in the growth cycle than previously.
Mullins said applying nitrogen prior to tasseling is not the right schedule for some high-yielding hybrids, “We have to make sure we have enough nitrogen in the plant post-flowering because that is when the yield is being determined.” He added that there are a lot of early season stresses that will lose nitrogen.
He said, for some growers, a split application program may be the best option, “Not on all your fields, but in those high yield environments a split application can really make a difference.”