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Sponsored: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

With unfavorable, rainy conditions throughout much of the Midwest this summer, our crops are even more susceptible to losing vital nutrients when they need it the most.

In order to keep corn plants healthy and happy, an additional application may be needed later in the season.

There are many farmers who believe in applying all of their nitrogen (N) up front, either in a fall application or at planting. While there are some advantages to this management practice, these same farmers are likely facing some tough decisions now as a result of N leaching and denitrification. Excessive rain, like what most of the central Corn Belt has experienced, vertically moves that nitrate N deep into the soil and out of reach of the corn plants roots.

If you have the ability to split apply your N, Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® data indicates it is a profitable practice and one you should consider. 

7.21_Crop Needs

This data shows that approximately 25 percent of N is required after the VT growth stage. With a lower rate of N applied up front, you can come back later in the season and determine how much N has been mineralized (or lost to detrificiation) to better determine your ideal remaining rate.

Split applications can also significantly decrease our margin for error because by waiting, we have a better idea of how the season will pan out. In the case of this year with the heavy rains many have experienced, split applications will help reduce our chance of loss and allow us to go back and apply what is needed to provide us with the highest yielding corn possible.

Along with application timing, the placement of N can be vital to the corn plant. Traditionally, we have applied N to the middle of the corn row, but studies have revealed that an individual corn plant acquires most of its N from within a radius of less than seven inches. Placing your N closer to the corn’s gives the plant the best chance to absorb the N and also produce the highest yield possible.

The 360 Y-DROP® system from 360 Yield Center, helps farmers improve the timing and placement in their N applications. This system has the ability to place nutrients close to the base of the plant, improving the potential for better plant uptake. Additionally, the high clearance technology offers the ability to make applications during critical stages of plant development, including the VT growth stage.

Last year, Beck’s PFR team conducted a nutrient study using the 360 Y-DROP at five of their six sites across the Midwest. The goal of this study was to evaluate the yield and profitability of various micronutrient products applied with 360 Y-DROP at the V10 growth stage.

All treatments were applied with UAN as the carrier, for a total of 25 units/A. of N. Compared to the control, all three nutrient products tested provided a positive yield advantage. The liquid boron fertilizer was the only product that showed both a yield advantage (2.6 Bu./A.) and a positive return on investment (ROI) ($0.88/A.). While the ROI was limited in this study, the use of the 360 Y-DROP system for nutrient management is a promising one.

7.21_360 YDROP Results

Though the ROI was low in 2016, it’s important to remember that last year we had exceptional mineralization. With near perfect temperatures, oxygen levels, and weather, there was to no N loss, which lowered the ROI with split applications.

This season is a completely different story however. In some areas, large amounts of rain have moved N away from the corn plant, leaving very available to the plant. This year is a perfect example of when it makes sense to rethink your N management plan and consider making a late-season application using the 360 Y-DROP. It could PAY off to wait.

To see the regional results of this study, click on the links below. Individual results may vary.

Beck’s PFR  is the largest source of unbiased, cutting-edge agronomic information in the industry. More than 110 different studies were conducted in 2016, comparing over 150 products across multiple locations to learn how different management practices and new technologies perform in field environments. In evaluating agronomic practices and input products, not comparing seed products, Beck’s PFR aims to help farmers maximize their input dollars and increase their bottom line. To view more studies from the 2016 PFR book,  click here  .

Practical Farm Research (PFR)® is a registered trademark of Beck’s Superior Hybrids Inc. 360 Y-DROP® is a registered trademark of 360 Yield Center.

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