Fall is the time to evaluate corn nitrogen use efficiency by using the end-of-season cornstalk nitrate test. The test measures nitrate-nitrogen left in the corn plant following maturity.
According to the most recent USDA Crop Progress report released on October 27 just 46% of the nation’s corn was harvested so there is still time to collect samples for analysis. Ideally samples should be collected 1 to 3 weeks after maturity (black layer), however, over the course of 15 years of utilizing the test I have collected samples up to, and immediately after harvest. Post harvest samples can be collected if the corn header is raised high enough to allow an 8-inch stalk segment to be collected starting 6 inches above the ground. If using a head with shredders samples will need to be collected before harvest. Don’t allow stalks that have been harvested to get rained on before collection or nitrates will start washing out of the stalks.
The video provides a demonstration of sample collection and preparation in order to send to a lab for analysis.
Climate and weather greatly impact a farmer’s day-to-day operations as well as their livelihood. To gain perspective on farmers’ production practices and how they are changing, Michigan State University Extension educators and specialist invited farmers from across Michigan to participate in one of three discussions on sustainable corn production held at locations in the north central, central and south central part of the state during mid-March. Climate and nitrogen were two of the topics discussed.
Concerns over heavy spring rains prompts Michigan corn growers to split N-applications throughout growing season.
We found that producers have already decreased the amount of nitrogen applied per bushel of yield. Cost of nitrogen, concern of environmental impacts, improved technology and better information were all given as reasons for the change. The source of nitrogen used is also changing. Most producers indicated that they will or have already moved away from using anhydrous mostly due to availability. Continue reading →
Want to learn a lot about crops, climate, culture, and change, all in a short period of time? Check out the Speed Science Resources available on our website. They include both factsheets and short videos and are approved for use in educational, research, and extension settings. Factsheet topics vary from the nitrogen cycle, to cover crops, to drainage water management. The videos cover climate change, soil core sampling, modeling and analysis of soil, and many other topics. Here’s an example of a video. Check it out and tell us what you think!