Ear Size and Number of Kernels Being Determined Now

CornFactJust as diet and nutrition play a key role in how well an athlete performs, corn plants need a well- balanced diet for optimal performance. We’re at a critical point in the growing season as ear size is being determined, so the slightest nutritional deficiency now can cost you yield in the end. Take a plant tissue analysis to assess where your fertility program is, and then make plans to protect your crop from in-season nitrate loss. In a wet spring like this one, it’s common for nitrate leaching to occur. However, there’s still time to remedy the situation. Nitrogen is a mobile nutrient, so the timing of fertilizer application is critical to meet a plant’s needs. Nitrogen management, spoon feeding the plant when it needs it, unquestionably affects total yield. Once you’ve fed the crop, you control weeds to maximize plant health. Early-season weeds rob yields you cannot see at harvest. Crops have a better chance of reaching optimal yield when they’re not competing with weeds for sunlight, water and nutrients. Weeds should be controlled with tillage, herbicides, or a combination of tactics so the crop can become well established under weed-free conditions. By following 5 small steps, farmers will make giant strides toward weed control:

    1. Closely monitor problem areas for tough-to-control weeds.
    2. Apply herbicides correctly.  Follow guidelines for proper application methods and rates.  And, remember, timing of application is critical.
    3. Don’t be satisfied with “economic thresholds” for weed control.  Remain vigilant in your fight against weeds all season long.
    4. Clean your equipment to prevent the spread of weeds.
    5. Lastly, surviving weeds must not be allowed to set seed.

Rotating between various herbicide traits is important from the standpoint of reducing weed resistance.  Rotating traits, especially insect resistance traits in corn, is especially important for the same reasons – to decrease the risk of insects becoming resistant to those traits and also to improve overall trait performance. We need to be good stewards of these traits and rotate them whenever possible!