An agronomist driving by several fields asked 'Who farms that field on the corner?' It was the Crop Watch '14 field. Why did he want to know? Because he figured that farmer knew what he was doing, and applied enough nitrogen. Most other fields on his trek through the area were beginning to take on a yellow cast. Some leaves were showing signs of firing, even fairly high up on the plant.
By now even corn in the Crop Watch field is beginning to show signs of some nitrogen deficiency as the season winds down. The corn was planted May 4 and was medium maturity, so it should be maturing relatively soon.
Crop Watch 9/5: Enter Crop Watch Contest to Win Free Seed
Why fields ran out of gas around the end of August is unclear. It could be that nitrogen was lost earlier in the year during heavy rains, and the plants finally used up all that was available. Another theory is that the farmer simply didn't put on enough nitrogen. A modification of that theory is that he didn't put on enough nitrogen for this year. It could be that some of those fields still produce high yields. They simply could have produced more if more nitrogen had been available.
That happened in the Crop Watch field in a different location in 2013. It actually showed serious symptoms around the first of August. Coupled with dry weather, the last one to two inches of kernels on almost every ear aborted. It turns out that due to a mechanical malfunction, only about 125 pounds per acre of N were applied last year in that field. However, it still yielded 207 bushels per acre.
Crop Watch 9/1: Full, Deep Kernels Could Increase Corn Yield
Time will tell what this year's field yields. Be sure to nail down your final guess and send it to [email protected]. Entries are due by Sept. 15. Winners earn valuable seed prizes from Seed Consultants, Inc.