Increase Nitrogen Sidedressing Speed With Alternate-Row Applications


   Nitrogen deficiency appears quickly in corn seedlings. Symptoms generally first show on leaves as a yellow coloration in a V-shape pattern starting at the tip and progressing toward the leaf collar. The cold, wet weather prevalent throughout the Corn Belt this spring has hindered field applications of nitrogen. That means many farmers will be busy sidedressing nitrogen late in the growing season in an effort to provide this needed nutrient to growing corn plants. 
   Sidedressing nitrogen provides the benefit of timing the application closer to the nutrient need of the corn crop. Your Channel Seedsman can help you fine-tune nitrogen application rates for expected yield potential. 
   To determine the best option for an in-season nitrogen application, consider the source of nitrogen to be used, crop growth stage, and the ability to minimize nitrogen loss. With those factors in mind, injecting nitrogen between rows is often the best option. Between-row applications keep nitrogen at a safe distance to avoid crop injury and placement close to growing crop roots. 

   To increase the speed of the application, farmers may consider applying nitrogen to every other row. Research indicates that yield may not be negatively impacted because every corn row will receive a nitrogen application on one side.1 Using the every-other row system allows adjustment of injection points to avoid placing an injector in a wheel track, where higher nitrogen losses may occur. 
   While nitrogen applications are beneficial to corn plants any time after planting through tasseling, nitrogen is most needed near the reproductive growth stages. Adequate nitrogen from V5 through V8 growth stages is critical, as the plant is determining the potential number of ears and ear girth at that time. Also, depending on weather conditions, nitrogen uptake is usually greatest from the V8 growth stage through silking.1 
   Visit for information about sidedress applications.
1Nafziger, E.D. 2009. Illinois agronomy handbook, 24th edition. University of Illinois.
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   MORGAN SCHMIDT: Channel Technical Agronomist 
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