Published on Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Every growing season is different, and quantifying those differences in determining their effect on our crop will enable us to adapt and overcome the constant challenges that we face as farmers. Beck’s PFR team has put an emphasis on scouting and gathering observations. This allows us to learn from the challenges we face throughout the growing season and how they correlate into the results we gather at harvest.
For example, this year our Ohio PFR site experienced a saturated spring followed by an exceptionally dry summer. Several corn plots showed early signs of nitrogen (N) deficiency shortly after pollination. Soil nitrate samples were taken and showed an adequate amount of N available in the soil. However, thanks to the extended dry period, the N wasn’t able to be taken up by the plant, which was what we saw in the plant tissue tests.
Soil type and water holding capacity played a large role in the severity of N deficiency that was observed. The tissue samples validate the N stress differences that were observed between the higher OM (darker) soils and the low OM (lighter) soils. Running short on N will have an impact on yield, but it was also interesting to observe how these plants were affected in terms of disease, premature plant death, and late-season standability. This is just one example of how matching visual observations and agronomic findings can help you better understand the outcome that is harvested this fall.
There’s Still Time!
Have you ever been surprised by the yield results in a particular field? Yield numbers on the monitor in the fall can leave us overjoyed, or they can leave us wondering what happened. In order to properly identify the causes of our success or failures, we need more than just harvest maps. Fortunately, we can still make in-field observations and draw conclusions all the way up to harvest.
Suggestions for Late-Season Scouting
I would encourage and challenge you to scout your fields before harvest to not only draw conclusions about your 2019 crop but more importantly, to be able to make changes for the 2020 growing season.
Good luck and be safe this harvest season.
Author: Jared Chester
Categories: PFR, PFR Reports
Tags: harvest, Scouting, Nitrogen, tissue samples, soil test, nitrogen deficiency, plant health