Agronomist Matt Duesterhaus encourages farmers to treat their nitrogen (N) program in corn like a report card.
“We want to look at the first, second, third and fourth quarters all the way through the season to see how we're doing,” says Duesterhaus, an agronomist with Crop-Tech Consulting, Heyworth, Ill.
Duesterhaus walks farmers through some treatments from the 2019 Corn College Nitrogen plots on how to analyze nitrogen programs, in a video Crop-Tech just produced. You can Watch the four-minute video here: Late Season Nitrogen Evaluations
In addition, here are three photos with highlights from the video.
In Photo 1 below, the corn is green from top to bottom. There are no deficiencies showing up, no fading of color. The crop is green all the way to the base of the plants.
“And if we were to split these stocks, we've got solid inner nodes at the bottom of those plants,” Duesterhaus says. “So what that tells us is at this point in time, these corn plants do not need nitrogen.”
Still, what you can’t tell from photo 1, is that this block of corn was 100% sidedressed.
“This was actually one of our worst looking treatments, because it didn't have any nitrogen out there early,” he notes.
You can see what Duesterhaus means by observing the early-season plants in Photo 2 below, which are yellowing and exhibiting stress. This kind of stress can be corrected, but final yield outcome could still be affected.
In Photo 3 below, you can see that this particular crop is under stress from nitrogen loss.
“We lose nitrogen at the bottom of the plant first. A lot of times farmers don’t notice it though, until the tops of the plants turn yellow, if they’re not out in the field scouting,” Duesterhaus says.
“Late-season scouting doesn’t tell the whole story, but it may help you make future adjustments to your N program to maximize the grain-fill period,” he adds.