Field observations and deductions

Field observations and deductions

After record rainfall I don't know if there is a correct way to manage our fields

Though I've been farming my whole life, in 20-plus years I have never seen a June or July like this one. Therefore, I don't know there is really a correct way to deal with what we've experienced.

I observe that tile lines and well drained fields have good color. That leads me to believe there has been nitrogen available to the plants. I would also conclude that the water-logged soils prevented anaerobic activity, doing more damage than nutrient leaching. With frequent rains, it has been difficult get soil samples for nutrient analysis taken and sent off. When the ground was anywhere near fit, applications were being made, regardless of test results.

After record rainfall I don't know if there is a correct way to manage our fields

Shallow roots are a fact. It could be seen a couple weeks ago, as with moderate temperatures and soils at full water holding capacity, it only took five days to see plants with moisture stress.

My greater concern actually focuses on soybeans. Have can they fix enough nitrogen to produce even a normal crop? It doesn't seem that any soybeans planted more than 10 days ago are growing very much. However, that said, R3 has come on very quickly.

Plant heath applications will be made this week. In addition to the fungicide and insecticide, this year we will include a slow release foliar N, K, and S product. We are only perusing the early planted, good looking fields.

Foliar treatments
Foliar treatments are definitely the easiest method to supplement the plants. The question remains, is foliar as effective as soil applied? Proponents will quote a 4X or 5X efficiency for foliars. However, you are only putting on a fraction of the actual material. One gallon of a foliar nitrogen plant food is only 2-2.8 pounds of actual N.

For the same cost, you could purchase 14-18 pounds of actual N in the form of urea or 28%. So, with water-logged soils where root uptake is restricted, does a foliar application fit? (Related to the water-logged thought: are we getting 'normal' nitrogen from decay and natural release for the soil?)

I guess, the bottom line for me is this: if there is a year that foliar fertilizer will pay, it has to be this year. I'm going to try it on the fields that were determined to be worth the investment. However, a shift in the weather pattern to dry would once again put any yield gain from treatment in question.

I had waited all week to finish this blog so I could evaluate treatment I made on July 6th. I sprayed 2 gal. of a 20-0-7.5-6S plus a quart of micros. I left a test strip and followed it by a 2x rate. There was definite leaf burning from the application (total volume of 15 gpa including the water and foliar.). Burning was worse in the 2x area. Unfortunately the farm where the application was made has continued to be in an excess water area. Today, I was genuinely frustrated with the lack of improvement. I saw corn 3 feet tall that was trying to tassel, and slight improvement since 10 days ago. Posted is a picture of 2 plants, one treated 1x, one not. Is there a difference?

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