Plant Analysis vs. Expectations
We are in the middle of the 2020 crop season with early planted corn beginning to shoot tassels and soybeans are beginning to flower. Overall crop appearance and development has made a dramatic improvement with many crops catching up from the slow start due to below normal temps and the cloudy overcast days of May.
Plant analysis results run the gambit. Recent conversations with clients across the United States cover a number of topics related to crop development, soil test levels and nutrient uptake. One conclusion, It’s always best to review any plant analysis data with a representative soil test report.
We are seeing some nutrient deficiencies due to rapid growth, even when the soil nutrient levels are at what the industry considers optimum levels. The plots that field representative, Joe Sisco, has been sampling are seeing a number of challenges. Late planting, dry seed bed conditions, limited nodal root development until recent rains filled the soil’s profile to name a few.
Optimum nutrient uptake is largely dependent on root development and soil moisture conditions. With our current warm temperatures, corn plants are using about .27 inches of water per day and setting a new leaf collar every 50 GDU’s (growing degree units). Areas in the Midwest have been averaging close to 25 GDU’s per day over the last 10 days and it is showing up with corn fields reaching the VT stage about 10 days ahead of our normal pollination period. It is a challenge for soils to continue to supply the nutrient levels under these rapid growth periods. Corn is pulling 10 plus pounds of Nitrogen uptake per day and 10-11 pounds of Potassium per day.
Does this mean yield will be affected? At this time in the game, we are unsure. The balance of the growing season will determine that. If the crop looks healthy and productive, we encourage clients to continue to treat the crop as planned.
This includes following a regular plant analysis program over the rest of the season and using the data to make educated adjustments for next season. We would encourage clients to not get caught up in the week to week data, but rather, look at the season as a whole, and identify a trend that may help them in adjusting next season’s fertility program.
Check out our video below where Joe Sisco, our agronomic field representative, will demonstrate how to take proper plant tissue samples during the fourth week of the Shared Insights Program.
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