You have heard that “there is a time and place for everything.” This is especially true in agricultural production practices faced by farmers every day.
Just as using the right fertilizer blend and amount or the correct herbicide rate, the correct timing of an application is critical for top yields.
A good example of this is the proper timing of foliar fungicides for stripe rust control in wheat. This year growers in southwest Arkansas are facing a serious stripe rust epidemic.
When hits or small infection sites are found in susceptible variety wheat fields, growers should schedule timely fungicide applications. Stripe rust has the potential to quickly infect an entire field of susceptible wheat whenever cool, damp weather conditions exist.
Applying a timely fungicide application before stripe rust has attacked the top two to three leaves, including the flag leaf, can prevent yield losses.
Another critical practice where timing is important is sidedress nitrogen application to corn. The number of corn seed rows on the cob is determined very early in the young plants growth.
Having all nitrogen fertilizer applied by the sixth leaf stage will increase the potential for ear size which determines yield. At this point the corn plant will experience a period of rapid growth.
The growing point is above the soil surface and the plant is “deciding” what type of yield load it can support. That’s why it is critical that the plant has an ample supply of nutrients and water at this time.
Too many times in the past, I have been called out to troubleshoot a problem that could have been prevented earlier with the proper management practice. Knowing what to look for and when to look are skills that come with experience and education of the individual producer.