Field Scouting is most useful when you have the right tools in your toolbox. As Brian Arnall, Associate Professor of Precision Nutrient Management at Oklahoma State University explains, smart phone apps can help identify nutrient issues in real-time.
July is a good time to identify nutrient deficiencies because at this point you still have time to fix a lot of them. Use apps while scouting to help narrow down what nutrient is deficient. For example, if you see yellow corn leaves, apps can help you get a better idea if it’s nitrogen or sulfur because both are yellow. Apps won’t tell you what to do, but they can help identify the problem. Pay attention to mobile nutrients such as nitrogen, sulfur, chloride, etc., because you can do something about them. You can also try test strips to see which nutrient is deficient by sidedressing two or more random locations across your field to see if there’s positive response to the nutrient you apply. When there’s positive response and the money’s right, apply that nutrient across the field. Test on both high and low ground and you’ll likely see a difference between the two.