Phosphorus (P) is an important macronutrient for field corn. Adequate amounts of the nutrient are associated with improved corn root development, increased stalk strength, resistance to disease, kernel (seed) production and earlier crop maturity. In some scenarios, the right amount of P can boost corn yields by up to 40 bu. per acre.
New knowledge and tools enable highly efficient just-in-time nutrient planning
The need to protect water supplies while feeding a burgeoning world population will spur farmers to become the best nitrogen stewards ever. It won’t be easy, says Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie, and it will take time. But he predicts farmers will meet this challenge, just as they have responded to every other call to feed more people while optimizing nutrient use.
Questions about crop response and yield increase
As producers battle consistently anemic commodity prices, any avenue to push yields is all the more alluring. While macronutrients and tissue testing are gospel in many parts of agriculture, Nathan Slaton, a soil scientist with University of Arkansas (UA) Extension, says mid- to late-season foliar feeding is unwarranted in most cases.
Maximize fertilizer return and protect water supplies by understanding your soil types
Nitrogen’s elusive behavior makes it challenging to produce top yields while minimizing the escape of nitrate. But understanding how soil influences the presence or absence of nitrogen during the growing season will make your fertilizer program more cost-effective while safeguarding water quality. The good news is you already possess much of that knowledge from farming fields for many years.
You’re always pushing for better yields, and all the pieces finally fell together in 2016. Record or near-record yields across the country not only topped off grain bins but also depleted soil nutrients. As you plan for your 2017 crop, it’s important to replenish soil nutrients so yield isn’t held back from reaching its potential.
According to WinField United, the company has taken and analyzed 410,000 plant samples over the years, including 92,775 samples in 2016. The company says it has spotted several crop-specific deficiencies through this effort.
WinField collected these samples through its NutriSolutions 360 program, which it says can help farmers make corrective actions in-season rather than accept a yield loss from nutrient deficiencies.
Problems can be avoided, or easily fixed, once you understand this secondary nutrient
Sometimes soybeans can look like 70 bu., combine like 70 bu. but only yield 55 bu. per acre. Sometimes magnesium deficiency is to blame.
“I’ve seen studies showing a loss of 3 bu. to 5 bu. per acre in soybean fields with magnesium deficiency issues,” says Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie. “In our own studies, the loss has been as high as 10 bu. in soybeans and 7 bu. to 15 bu. in corn.”
Narrow escape only emphasizes the importance of sound nitrogen management
Now would be a good time to thank Mother Nature. She saved many farmers from an environmental black eye by preventing what could have been a perfect storm of nitrogen pollution this past spring.
Next time we might not be so fortunate, warns Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie. The perfect storm that wasn’t shows how critical it is for farmers to be the best possible nitrogen stewards.
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