Showing posts from April, 2013

Compaction Problems in Early Planted Corn

With cold wet spring, farmers faces delays in spring planting. Generally, farmers try to get corn planted by May 10th and soybeans by mid-May to maximize yields. However, it does not pay to plant too early if the weather conditions and the soil is not fit. Farmers with large acreage may be tempted to get started a little early, but “mudding in” crops may result in hard compacted soils that get replanted. Two years ago in 2011, crops yields were high even though crops were not planted until June, because it rained all summer. Waiting for the soil to be fit is generally the best bet in the long run. Some soils (especially sandy soils or loamy soil) may tolerate planting when the soil is a little wet but clay soils are much more unforgiving. Plant growth may be hurt the entire season if the soil structure is damaged. Soil compaction reduces root growth which then results in reduced nutrient and water uptake. Seeds planted into compacted soils tend to have shallower roots and may be hurt b

Spring Nitrogen Application for Corn

The Tri-State Fertilizer Guide gives the following recommendations on corn nitrogen application. The timing of nitrogen (N) fertilizer applications is an important factor affecting the efficiency of fertilizer N because of leaching and denitrification. Denitrification occurs when nitrate N (NO3 - ) is present in a soil and not enough oxygen (O2) is present to supply the needs of the bacteria and microorganisms in the soil. If oxygen levels are low, microorganisms strip the oxygen from the nitrate, producing N gas (N2) or nitrous oxide (N2O), which volatilizes from the soil. Three conditions that create an environment that promotes denitrification are wet soils, compaction and warm temperatures. Timing N applications to reduce the chance of N losses through these processes may increase the efficiency of fertilizer N use. Ideally, N applications should coincide with the N needs of the crop. This approach requires application of most of the N requirement for corn during a period 6 to 10 w

Macro and Micro Nutrients

The following article was written by Ed Lentz, Hancock County Extension and Jim Hoorman. Farmers often get sales pitches when it comes to plant nutrition. They generally are knowledgeable about the main nutrients, but they are encouraged to try new products to improve crop yields. A basic understanding of soil fertility is important for high crop production. All crops require sixteen essential nutrients for proper growth and development, the specific amount of each nutrient depends upon the crop. The air or atmosphere provides carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The rest must come from the soil and the amount available for a plant depends upon many factors such as the soil type, organic matter, pH, drainage, microbes, temperature, and rainfall. In the soil, nutrients are absorbed with water being pulled through the plant, diffusion exchange from a chemical gradient, and by roots intercepting the nutrient molecules. Some nutrients are required in large amounts compared to other nutrients, whic