Expect a lot of yellow corn and plan to do something about it now says a University of Missouri soil scientist. Peter Scharf says nitrogen loss is likely the heaviest in areas that have gotten more than 16 inches of rain since April. Those areas include northeastern Missouri, western Illinois and eastern Iowa.
Scharf tells Brownfield Ag News, “Something like 24,000 square miles in Iowa and 20,000 square miles in Missouri and 18,000 square miles have already had something like 16 inches of rain since the first of April. So, there’s a lot of ground out there that’s at definite risk, since the nitrogen that went down early is not there anymore.”
Any anhydrous ammonia applied last fall, Scharf says, is gone so farmers need to side dress or find almost any way they can to apply nitrogen to their growing corn now.
“Any way that you can get it done is good except I wouldn’t spray liquid nitrogen across the canopy after it’s about a foot tall.”
Scharf tells Brownfield liquid application gets riskier the taller the corn gets.
“When it was two feet tall it was more like 20 or 25 bushels, when it’s three-and-four feet tall it’s more in the 50 or 60 bushel range. So, the burn is just too great when you’re putting on a large application.”
Because of all the wet weather, farmers got corn in as quickly as they were able this year and most didn’t stop to apply nitrogen. Scharf advises letting your fertilizer dealer know of your plans to apply nitrogen so they do not run out.