Some fields that missed showers for the ‘nth’ time this spring are dry without a doubt.

The bigger corn is trying to twist during the warmest parts of the day and overall color is more variable even where side dress nitrogen has been applied. 

Streaky fields and yellow corn are the result of not enough soil moisture to allow corn roots to grow to the nitrogen. 

We have fields at Jackson that were terribly variable that have really improved after receiving a half inch of rain this past Monday. 

I’m also receiving more calls about burned corn not recovering from broadcast ammonium nitrate or urea. I have looked at some of these fields and it is distressing to see, but dry weather means those plants aren’t producing new leaves as quickly as normal and unfortunately, they will take a few extra days to grow out of the damage.

Apply side-dress nitrogen to minimize loss and also cause the least amount of damage to dry stressed corn:

Injecting anhydrous or spraying UAN behind a coulter down row middles is preferred if possible. If broadcasting ammonium nitrate or urea with Agrotain, please apply when corn leaves are DRY during mid- to late-morning and afternoon. 

Spreading at night or early in the morning when there is dew on plants usually means fines and particles stick easier and may result in more damaging burn.

Rethink inputs (nitrogen) in anticipation of an average yielding dryland crop:

With all the early planted corn, many folks had planned to bump their nitrogen amount to support a high yielding crop. I have talked with folks who are in seriously dry areas about reducing their total nitrogen rate in anticipation of a lower yielding crop and I think this makes sense to not ‘shoot the moon’ on nitrogen unless you are irrigating this year. 

Staying with an adequate (somewhere in the 160 to 180 pound per acre range) but not excessive rate is a good idea. This will give us adequate nitrogen to make a decent crop if we get better rains later this month and in June, but we aren’t throwing dollars after yield that probably won’t be better than average.

Keep weeds out of the crop to hold onto soil moisture:

Try not to burn corn with herbicide mixtures which only adds stress to the crop.

• What about foliar products to help with stress, provide nutrients, etc.?

We generally discourage using these products due to lack of consistent response for the cost. We are trying a few of these to see what they do on some very dry corn at Milan, but I doubt that they will turn fields around that aren’t getting water. 

If you decide to try one on a few acres I would not spend a lot of money on any product. Plants can only absorb so much nitrogen, etc through the leaves and the benefit may only be a temporary cosmetic color change.  

Check labels!!! Some of these materials don’t have much information about whether they can be mixed with your post herbicide products and some higher load fertilizer products may actually cause more leaf burn when applied with herbicide combinations. 

The more ‘stuff’ you throw in the tank the more likely some things won’t play well together.

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