Prepare for Big Crops that Leave Fields in Need of Nutrients

It may be time to take a closer look at the fundamentals of your soybean and corn fields as fall field work and next year’s planning take center stage, especially if you produced great yields this year.

DEKALB Asgrow technical agronomist Kirsten Thomas-Garriott says large crops have likely pulled some key nutrients from those fields.

“The amount of nutrients removed by a crop that’s that large, sometimes field record crops, definitely needs some attention,” she said. “So, if you haven’t had the recent soil test or maybe you haven’t explored micronutrients in the past, this may be a great time to check into those things and incorporate that into your 2021 plan.”

She tells HAT most farmers are up to date on what their N P and K program needs are, but they should pay attention to sulfur levels in both corn and soybeans, along with zinc and manganese and magnesium.

“But, the surprise one we come back deficient in sometimes with these really big yield numbers in corn, especially when you talk about 240, 250 + bushel corn, is boron.”

Thomas-Garriott says it doesn’t take a whole lot of boron to make a corn crop, a couple of pounds for a high 200’s corn crop, “and certainly too much can be toxic, so people have shied away from applying that in certain cases in the past, but when you talk about getting that really nice fill to the ear tip and stalk strength when we get into situations like we’re in right now, boron is really, really important,” she told HAT.

So, she recommends soil testing, and when that happens is dependent on what works best for your farm logistically.

“Fall is a time a lot of folks do soil tests because you have some time, and in spring things tend to get crunched together, so generally it’s still a fine practice to do whenever it works for your farm.”

Doing it when you can, will tell you a lot about where that fertility program needs to hit some important targets.

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