Late-Season Nitrogen Management

The high temperatures of the past week have given us needed growing degree days (GDD) to get crops to where they need to be after late-planting. We’re hopeful that this late-September heat will get corn to black layer in a timely fashion.

As we scout, we’re looking for nitrogen (N) loss and helping growers reevaluate their N management program. In fields where N is lacking, we’re trying to determine if the deficiency is from a lack of N in the soil or due to inadequate root systems that are unable to uptake the N to the plant.

If you suspect N loss in your corn, we recommend a late-season cornstalk nitrate test. To collect a sample, cut 8-inch-long sections of corn stalk starting 6 inches above the ground from 10 randomly selected representative plants. Cut these samples into 1- to 2-inch-long segments to facilitate drying. If possible, dry the samples immediately or send them to the lab as soon as possible after collection. 

The test will help determine if the stalk shows low, optimal or excessive amounts of N in the stalk.  Use the late-season cornstalk nitrate test to evaluate your nitrogen management practices.

With harvest underway in most of our footprint, remember that getting home safely every night is the most important part for a successful harvest. Take time to prepare your equipment, vehicles and yourself before you head out into the fields.

Terry, Dan, Rod and Denny