By Stan Miles, Regional Agronomist
The time is drawing near when we will learn if the fungicide pass paid off or if our starter fertilizer choice worked or if we made the correct seed choice or was our fertility plan up to the task. Have you been counting kernels, breaking ears in half and working the calculator on yield estimates? The yield maps will tell the final tale but some late season scouting, sampling and note taking will go a long way when interpreting the yield maps and putting a star next to all the management choices that paid off.
My grandfather didn’t enjoy the benefits of yield maps and our site specific tools but he was a student of the game and he improved every year. He had an excellent long term memory and added to his knowledge base every year. (1934 and 1936 were a bit warm I was told)
Several changes were made to our fertilizer plans last spring based on elevated product prices and there are many learning opportunities in our fields right now based on rate reductions, application timing changes and product substitutions that were done made to improve the crop budgets and remain profitable.
The Late Season Cornstalk Nitrogen Test is a useful tool that can help us evaluate how the corn crop finished the season and it can give us key insights into our nitrogen application rates and timings and it will help us determine if these practices were a wise choice and we can adjust next season. The Cornstalk Nitrogen test should be done between ¼ milk line and 3 weeks past black layer for most accurate results. Sample an 8 inch segment of the stalk about 6 inches above the soil surface. It is recommended to collect about 10 stalk pieces randomly across a 10 acre area.
The link above will take you to our fact sheet that describes sampling instructions, history and research that was used to develop the test and interpretations for the results. Please contact your ALGL agronomist with questions and for more information regarding the Late Season Cornstalk Nitrogen test.