2020.09.16 Growing Insights

Sep 23, 2020

Conditions Update
Crop progress across MN from the week ending September 20th, 2020 has corn conditions at 24% excellent (22% last week), 53% good (54%), 17% fair (18%), and 6% poor/very poor (6%). Soybean conditions are at 17% excellent (17% last week), 59% good (60%), 19% fair (18%), and 5% poor/very poor (5%).

When temperature high’s this week reach over 80-degrees, it will be at least 10-degrees over the average. Plus, low temperatures are slated to be mid-50-degrees this week which will help further dry down as normal lows are in the high 40’s!
Nutrient Report Card
Based on tissue samples taken through WinField United’s NutriSolutions® tissue sampling program, an early report card of nutrient management success and struggles becomes apparent by looking at the most limiting nutrients at different growth stages of the crop this year. Below are the percent of MN tissue samples taken at various growth stages across MN that were deficient or responsive in the respective nutrient.

During grand growth phase and reproductive stages in corn the last 2 years, sulfur, nitrogen, and potassium consistently show up as responsive/deficient.
  • Sulfur is required for enzyme synthesis and protein formation. In later corn stages, boron becomes important for reproductive structure development.
  • Nitrogen is required for protein synthesis, making it key for optimizing plant growth and yield.
  • Potassium is needed for energy metabolism, photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, and nutrient movement.
  • Zinc is needed for chlorophyll production and carbohydrate metabolism, and is required for cell elongation and grain formation.
  • In later corn stages, boron becomes important for reproductive structure development.
Excess moisture can cause challenges to mobile nutrient management, such as nitrogen and sulfur. Potassium successes or challenges are dependent on moisture, clay mineralogy, soil test levels and root growth.

Some of the top-down yellowing that we see in early September could be a slight representation of the manganese deficiency, of course, overlaid with the corn’s demand for sulfur that may be causing the top few leaves of the plant to take on a yellowish hue.
Sulfur is critical late in the season for corn, and the rain’s this spring may have made sulfur management a bigger challenge.

It may be too late to do anything dramatic about this now (for the 2020 crop), however, it’s a great reminder of the importance of managing macronutrients to make sure the work we do with micronutrients will have greater success. Now is the time to begin the conversation with your CFS representative on nutrient management needs going into 2021 based on some of the learnings from 2020!

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Highlights as of 5/16:
Planting and weather conditions are the name of the game currently. With planting progress looking very favorable and the weather forecast showing above normal temps and below normal precipitation for much of the corn belt all signs point to very good planting conditions. With that, we gave up yesterday’s gains on old crop and put in some new lows on December corn.