Planting came late for many fields because of weather conditions in Iowa earlier this year. But being behind in planting doesn’t mean growers are going to be behind in harvest.
“I talked to an agronomist in Iowa in late May, and the corn in his area shot up about 3 inches in the last five to seven days,” says Paul Reising, director of product management for Actagro. “A lot of corn is going to take off and be quite productive.”
It pays to plan ahead for in-season nitrogen application, he adds. When corn is knee-high, its demand for nitrogen starts to increase. The late harvest last fall left many acres without a nitrogen application, so there is a risk the nutrient will not be available when the crop needs it.
“You must have nitrogen there to supply the growth demand of corn plants, and that’s why nitrogen use efficiency, or NUE, is so important,” Reising says. “It helps the plant extract more nitrogen from the soil.”
Boost nitrogen-use efficiency
Keeping that NUE up early in the season can ensure every pound of applied nitrogen is going directly to the crop so you can get the best yield out of the field and minimize nitrogen loss. Traditionally, nitrogen stabilizers are used to protect against N loss, but they come with a cost. Nitrification inhibitors slow the conversion of ammonium to nitrate by eliminating some of the beneficial bacteria in the soil, but there is an alternative.
A high-efficiency nitrogen management product like Proximus can be applied with UAN during sidedress, Reising says, to help maximize NUE and prevent nitrogen loss without harming beneficial bacteria. Proximus stimulates the microbial population already in the soil rather than inhibit natural processes. “Proximus is not hurting anything in the soil,” he says. “It’s actually helping the corn plant absorb more nitrogen that you’ve already applied.”
Healthier corn plants, better yields
In replicated trials, growers saw healthier corn plants and better yields when they used Proximus instead of conventional nitrogen stabilizers. The amount of available nitrogen in the crop has been shown to have increased up to 23%. Those Actagro results for 2014 and 2016 are based on replicated and on-farm trials across 13 locations.
Proximus can also reduce leaching of N, Reising says. If there are heavy rains after an application of nitrogen, Proximus applied with the N can help keep nitrogen from washing away from the crop.
“If the corn plants can use more nitrogen from the soil, it helps ensure that the nitrate doesn’t find its way into a drain tile or run off into the environment,” Reising says.
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