A good fertility program helps farmers ensure their corn crop emerges and stays healthy throughout the growing season. To that end, the best place to start is with a soil test.
"We need to have a soil test to give us an indication of where are things at out in this field, and the way we want to pull those soil tests is pretty important," says Farm Journal associate field agronomist Missy Bauer in Season 3 of Corn College TV. That means testing several soils within a single field, including dark soils with high organic matter and high exchange capacity, as well as lighter, sandier soils.
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Factors to examine include levels of phosphorus and potassium, and pH. Depending on what a farmer finds, fertilizer might be helpful in advancing early stage growth by five to seven days, allowing pollination to occur before it gets hot in July and beyond.
During the growing season, soil nitrate samples and tissue tests can help farmers troubleshoot fertility issues in the field.
Learn more by watching Episode 3 of Corn College TV Season 3 below. Click here to register for 2013 Corn College events happening throughout the summer.