A special attachment for a sprayer intended to apply late-season nitrogen on corn was drawing looks at Beck's Hybrid Field Day in central Illinois recently. It looked like a conventional drop tube system until you got near ground level. Then it splits, hence the name of the new product, YDrop.
"We tried it out and found that because of the whipping action, it tends to place nitrogen at the base of each stalk," says Jason Webster, coordinator of Beck's Practical Farm Research Plots in Illinois. Since the drop splits into two, there is a hose on each side to feed plants on each side of the row. The tubes are covered and held apart by a metal covering that runs just above ground level.
Since this is the first season to try it, Webster hasn't seen results, but he likes the concept. He also likes the concept of getting some N on later in the season.
Webster used a Hagie unit with high clearance that still places N under the soil surface, and a MIller sprayer that accomplishes the same thing. What he doesn't believe would be successful, especially in a year like this, is sampling dripping liquid N between the rows on the soil surface.
In fact, Dave Mengel, then at Purdue University, proved nearly 25 years ago that just placing N on top as a liquid could cost as much as 20 bushels per acre compared to getting the N under the surface. A good part of his work was under no-till conditions.
YDrop is marketed by Ag Alternatives, and is just hitting the market. The company is based in Garner, Iowa. Learn more about this idea for placing N later in the season at www.agalternatives.com.