Corn is about to go into a feeding frenzy… for water and Nutrients

The holiday we all have a load of respect for, July 4th is upon us and the heat is putting corn, soybeans and cotton crops into some dire stress. It is time for rain, even the irrigators will heartily agree as we all watch the crops suffer and get set back. This should be the time when the crops are going into high nutrient demand with the way the crops genetics and physiology are progressing. So we ask the question, do you have a reasonable nutrient package of materials in the root zone between 7 to 30 inches? Nitrogen demands at this time should be 4.5 to 7lbs/acre/day. Now during stress times, corn is trying to maintain a water balance to cope with heat and desiccation. N uptake as well as P, K, S, Zn all will get shorted which affects growth, photosynthate production and sugars moving in the plants to get ready for flowering and later fruit production (seeds).
For those who have strip-tilled and left last year’s crop aftermath (residues) to shade the ground, limit soil surface water losses, and help cool the soil temperatures you folks have an upper hand. For the grower who still tills the entire surface before planting most likely lost 1 to 3 inches of available water to the tillage passes and evaporative losses. That moisture loss now is crucial. To give you natural rainfall (dryland) growers an idea – in the Western Corn Belt that is $12 up to $45 per inch applied per acre if irrigated. Another excellent reason why strip-tillage is a superb practice to use in what we do as farmers across the United States and elsewhere around the world.

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