Analyzing Wet Eastern Indiana Corn Crop

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Mullen crop update

Shallow root cornThis week Indiana farmers heading to the Farm Management Tour and Master Farmer banquet from points south and west were somewhat stunned to see the corn and soybean fields impacted by heavy rains. It’s not a pretty site, and it gets worse further north. Agronomist Bill Mullen joined HAT in Jay County corn and soybean fields to get a close look, and he suggested farmers affected by heavy rains should do a pre-sidedress nitrate test where corn is stunted, once it is dry enough to get in.

“That’s basically going into a field with a probe and going down 12, 14, 15 inches, because with all that water, let’s face it, you might have sidedressed at 5-6 inches. Well all that water just pushed that nitrogen just down deeper than that. So we really want to grab what pockets of nitrogen that are there and the deeper we go the better we’ll find out.”

Replacing lost nitrogen raises a number of questions, including how much to apply but also which method to use. Mullen says there are some options, even where it’s too wet to get in.

Bill Mullen-SCI“I talked to a guy Monday who’s talking about flying on urea with some ammonium sulfate. The thing to keep in mind is with urea if we get any of that in the whorl of that plant and after a rain that follows, it’s going to dissolve and we’ll get some burn on that plant. There are some people I know that are looking at, either by airplane or by ground application on some of the taller corn, using these foliar products that are non-burning nitrogen products like CoRoN which is a controlled release nitrogen. There’s products like that to consider because with non-burning we’re going right into the plant.

He also recommended where possible in corn fields farmers break up some of the compacted soils.

“The taller corn we can’t do, but if there’s a means where a farmer can go ahead, and if the corn isn’t quite as tall, just take an anhydrous toolbar if one is available, not nitrogen, but just that toolbar to go down in there and knife into the ground. When we’re doing that, we’re getting air down to the roots, so it’s going to help.”

Mullen is with Seed Consultants. In the HAT video he digs up some eastern Indiana corn and soybean plants and offers observations.