Agronomy Talk





Author: Dale Viktora

Potassium (K) plays vital roles within corn plants for carbohydrate, nutrient, and water flow. It is instrumental in gas exchange from the plant to the atmosphere as it regulates the opening and closing of the stomata of the leaf; it is also a key component in cell walls which add to stalk strength. Potassium is essential for photosynthesis, maximizing water use efficiency, helping maintain plant health, increasing test weight of grain, and nitrogen use efficiency. A corn plant requires almost as much K as nitrogen (N); however, when looking at soil test values across the Midwest, soil test K values have been falling. This is largely due to increased grain yields removing higher amounts of K from the soil and insufficient K applications.

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NW Illinois & Iowa - Craig Kilby, CCA

Fall Fertility Decisions

Author: Craig Kilby

Fall fertility decisions in northwest Illinois have traditionally been based on crop removal and recent soil test levels. That may remain unchanged for some in 2015, while others may find the need to adjust levels lower due to economics. The cost to apply major nutrients like P and K have not dropped at the same rate as grain prices, resulting in heightened interest of economical use of these nutrients. Referring to soil test information, P and K can be allocated to only those areas most likely to respond to applications. Be sure to review critical levels of nutrients for corn, soybean, wheat, and alfalfa. The probability and magnitude of return to P and K fertilizer will increase when applied to soil test levels below the critical level.

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