Too Wet? Too Dry? Either Way, Your Corn Might Need More Nutrients

By the time mid-August rolls around, corn growers often think it’s too late in the season to adjust their crop’s nutrient program. But that’s not at all the case according to John Leif, AgroLiquid Field Agronomy Manager.

“If your crop is still in that tasseling to early reproductive stage there’s time for a foliar application; or, if the crop is really struggling, you can get in there with a dribble tube or Y drops,” he says.

Those were key messages Leif emphasized with the 135-plus farmers and retailers who attended the Farm Journal Yield Tour program earlier this week at the AgroLiquid headquarters in St. Johns, Mich.

Leif says as he’s evaluated corn throughout the Midwest this season he’s seen the results of huge moisture differences from area to area, with some being too dry while others are too wet. He believes farmers on both sides of the weather extremes are likely to have crops that need additional nitrogen, potassium and sulfur.

“Those are three big drivers for ear fill this time of year and can help you make sure crop quality is what it should be,” Leif explains.

He notes that growers who have had a generally good growing season but whose fields are now dry may want to put down some supplemental nutrition as a foliar spray—a little extra nitrogen, potassium and sulfur—to take the corn up to harvest.

Growers in areas that are experiencing too much moisture now likely have even more urgent crop nutrient needs. “If you have short, yellow corn because of excess rain, I recommend that you get into your fields with a sidedress application of 50 lbs. to 60 lbs. of nitrogen,” Leif recommends.

He adds that informed product selection is important to achieving good results. “If you go with a foliar spray, make sure you pick crop nutrition products that are built to go on as a foliar application without the potential for leaf burn. If you’re going with a sidedress application make sure the nitrogen can be absorbed right away. Don’t use a controlled-release product, because you don’t have time to wait.”


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