Technology Can Play A Powerful Role In The Cornfield

As corn begins moving into the tasseling stage in much of the Corn Belt, according to Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report, keep in mind that it’s a nitrogen-hungry crop. In fact, corn requires more nitrogen (N) at tasseling than it did after emergence.

“At the V10 growth stage, uptake increases sharply, to about 4 lb. per acre per day. Between the V10 and VT [tasseling] stages, demand can reach 10 lb. per acre per day,” Ferrie says.

That’s up to five times more N per day than what corn usually needs after planting, typically a little less than 2 lb. of nitrogen per acre per day through the V8 or V9.

How do you know your crop is getting adequate N? One way is through the use of technology. Specifically, Ferrie says some computer models available online use weather data to calculate the stage of the corn crop, how much N the crop has picked up and how much more is needed to finish out the crop.

“Our tests showed most of the models are accurate, as long as they consider all of the nitrogen in the plant, both above and below the surface,” Ferrie explains. “By knowing the number of GDUs [growing degree units] since emergence, the models can give you a pretty good idea of the daily nitrogen demand at any point in the growing season.”

Such technology is playing an increasing—and practical—role on the farm today, Ferrie adds. On August 7, at the Farm Journal Yield Tour in Seymour, Ill., Ferrie along with agronomic speakers from AgriGold, Trimble and Valent will be addressing various technologies you can put to work in your fields yet this year to improve your efficiencies and, ultimately, your bottom line. To learn more and reserve your spot at the Yield Tour click here!