Sep 19, 2014
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Can I expect a corn yield boost if I use Y drop attachments to apply N prior to tassel?

Apr 15, 2014

Question: I am an agronomist in northeast Ohio and have a customer that is interested in exploring an avenue to apply nitrogen (N) late in his corn crop.  He is currently applying 40 lbs. of N at planting in a 2X2 through the planter.  At spike he applies 100 lbs. of AMS.  Then he side dresses 220 lbs. of anhydrous ammonia around V-4.  He is looking to set his sprayer up with the Y drop fertilizer attachments and apply up to 45 lbs. of N prior to tassel.  He asked me to ask you if you had any experience with Y drop or any suggestions.   

Answer:  We used the Y drop for the first time last year here in Illinois. We compared it to side dressing versus direct dribbling, and the Y drop did as well as the side dressing with the coulter. It did better than just the dribble. In your customer’s case, an additional application of N is only going to help him if he’s running out of N later in the season. You need to monitor that with visual inspections of the field and tissue testing. If he’s not having an N deficiency, it may not be worth doing as it won’t improve yield any.  If he pulls his side-rate application down and loses that N later, he might be able to make some money by being more efficient.  Breaking up his applications into a number of applications—but not applying more N—might help him make some yield headway. Adding N applications will only improve yields if he’s losing N late in the season.  The last window of opportunity where you can really make a difference is making an N application about the week before tassel.  Going later than that probably won’t be beneficial as you’re not likely to get the N up into the plant quickly enough to impact yield.

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