After planting, corn growers must continue making critical decisions to ensure a good harvest. One key decision is how to manage their sidedress nitrogen application in a way that maximizes N use efficiency and increases yields.
This is extremely important given today’s market. According to USDA’s latest “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report” (July 2019), the season-average farm price for corn is $3.70 per bushel.
During periods of low or declining commodity prices, it is critical to increase yields to lower the cost of production per bushel.
Therefore, when planning a sidedress N application, there are two key points that growers should consider to ensure maximum corn performance and yield:
- Time the application for optimal N uptake. A developing corn plant needs the majority of its N during growth stages V8 through VT/R1, when the rapid uptake and utilization of N is essential for maximum grain yield. Applying sidedress N around the V6 growth stage—approximately 24-30 days after emergence—ensures that the crop will be supplied with N when demand is highest.
- Consider supplemental technologies, such as a fertilizer biocatalyst and/or nitrogen stabilizer, to enhance the sidedress application. Fertilizer biocatalysts can be used to ensure that both applied N and soil nutrients are in the most efficient form for plant uptake, while nitrogen stabilizers or inhibitors can ensure that N remains in the root zone for plants to access when they need it most. Accomplish® LM is a fertilizer biocatalyst that effectively converts nutrients into plant-available forms—including helping to convert applied N into nitrate (NO3) and ammonium (NH4)—to facilitate plant uptake. Accomplish LM can be applied directly with sidedress N alone or together with a nitrogen stabilizer technology. Both types of applications increase the efficiency of a sidedress N application and can lead to improved yields.
In a field trial in Bowling Green, Missouri, adding Accomplish LM at 1 quart per acre to UAN 32% increased corn yield by more than 6 bushels per acre compared to UAN alone.
In a field trial in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, applying 1 quart per acre of Accomplish LM with a nitrogen stabilizer and UAN 32% increased corn yields by 10.7 bushels per acre compared to UAN alone.
And a review of 54 trials from 2011-2016 shows the overall positive impact of Accomplish LM technology in a sidedress program, with an average yield increase of 5.76 bushels per acre.
The bottom line: A sidedress application can ensure that corn crops gets the N they need when they need it most. Growers should time their application right before peak uptake and consider supplemental technologies to enhance nutrient use efficiency and maximize yield.
Learn more about using Accomplish LM to enhance sidedress applications on corn by watching our sidedress webinar, "Sidedressing Nitrogen for Maximum Yield."
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