Agronomic advances, biotechnology, and breeding have propelled corn yields to much higher levels compared to just a few decades ago. Fertility practices developed a few decades ago, however, may not be sufficient enough to keep up with today’s hybrids that contain transgenic insect protection and also higher populations.
Back in 2010, the University of Illinois did a trial on nutrient removal of root-worm resistant varieties compared to those varieties’ conventional counter-parts. The results of those trials showed a 14 to27 percent increase of N, P, K, S, and Zn removal per acre with the root-worm resistant varieties. The yields were higher in these root-worm resistant varieties, so we expect more nutrient removal; but the nutrient concentrations in the grain were also higher. With a larger root mass, these varieties are able to explore a larger volume of soil to absorb nutrients.
Earlier this year, DuPont- Pioneer published a study that they conducted across 12 Corn Belt states. Comprised of more than 22,000 soil samples, their study showed that P and K were deficient in a significant number of fields tested, demonstrating that growers may be leaving profit potential in the field.
As we think about plant food nutrients for growing corn, nitrogen management often takes precedence in your soil fertility program, but are you getting the full benefit of your nitrogen dollars? Are there other nutrient levels in your fields that are limiting the full benefit of your nitrogen program?
If you are unsure of the answer to that second question, fall is a great time to collect soil samples to check out your soil fertility levels. If you need some soil testing done this fall, please contact your WS Ag Center agronomist to get this lined up for you.
Hope you all have a safe and bountiful harvest!!
Thank you, Dan Langkamp