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No-till, nitrogen & replant decisions
Farmers attended the Western Iowa No-Till Field Day near Shelby, Iowa last week. The following slides have a few takeaway points from the presenters. Watch for more in-depth articles covering these topics in Successful Farming magazine.
The less-than-ideal weather conditions farmers have been dealt this spring left many wondering if their fall-applied or preplant nitrogen will be adequate for crop needs. Pat Reeg, Technology Manager at Iowa Soybean Association’s On-Farm Network, recommends the late-spring nitrate test to evaluate the levels in individual fields.
Late-spring nitrate test
The late-spring nitrate test allows farmers to remove guesswork from applying in-season nitrogen. “Efficiency has improved greatly over the years, but there is always room for more improvement,” says Reeg. Soil samples are collected when the corn plants are 6-12 inches tall.
Roger Elmore, Extension Corn Agronomist at Iowa State University, discussed the challenges of the 2013 growing season. If you are replanting corn, he recommends switching from full-season hybrids because of the threat of a fall frost.
Yield potential secret
“The secret on yield potential is complete canopy closure at silking,” says Elmore. “You can’t stand a lot of variability. It reduces yield.”
Cover crops and no-till
Steve Berger, a Wellman, Iowa farmer, is an evangelist for no-till and cover crops. The system he uses helps reduce erosion and reach higher yields.
Berger discussed on benefits from using cover crops. “By increasing organic matter, your water-holding capacity increases,” says Berger.
Nitrogen, no-till and cover crop management focus of field day.