As northern Indiana fields begin to dry out and soils warm up, it is becoming clear that the crops need some help. Mary Gumz with DuPont Pioneer says most fields are going to need an application of nitrogen to get back on track, “If your corn is yellow, your crops will definitely benefit from an application of nitrogen.” She said, in some cases, the excessive rains have leached the nitrogen out of the field, but, in other cases, the wet weather prevented proper application in the first place.
Gumz told HAT services like Encirca can help determine how much nitrogen has been lost, “We can model how much nitrogen is still left in your soil based on your application, the timing, rate, soil type, and form of the application.” She also urged growers to do some visual inspections of their crops to determine how capable they are to take up the fertilizer.
Gumz added that most crops are running behind in development and that accurately determining what growth stage your crop is in is important. The plants may be short but may actually be further along than they look. This is vital when considering a post emergence application of herbicide. “We are 2 or 3 leaf stages behind where we normally are. In Northwest Indiana, only about 10% of the corn is tasseling right now,” she stated.
She added a nitrogen application this late in the growing season can still be beneficial. Newer hybrids are capable of utilizing nitrogen much later in the season than older hybrids, “Crops produced after 2005 can take up about 35% of their nitrogen between tasseling and grain fill.” She added, if a grower can get a nitrogen application on now, the crop will respond during pollination.
Gumz urged quick action on applying nitrogen, but also warned about running equipment on fields that are still too wet to support the equipment. She said it is a bit of a balancing act.