What a difference a year makes.
In 2016, Ontario’s cold and dry spring conditions produced plenty of available nitrogen for the emerging corn crop. But when you fast-forward to 2017, those cold soils are now waterlogged and the wet conditions mean there’s very little nitrogen available to the crop.
The wet soil conditions have a huge impact on nitrogen, explains resident agronomist Peter Johnson on this edition of RealAgriculture Corn School. Soil bugs that break down nitrogen and make it available to the corn plant don’t mind the cold but they shut down when the soil gets wet.
Johnson has been surveying Ontario agronomists and early nitrate tests indicate that nitrogen levels could be as much as 40% lower than one year ago. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) corn specialist Ben Rosser will have the definitive word on conditions across the province when he and his team release their nitrogen survey in mid-June.
That survey will be released just in time for growers to determine sidedress nitrogen rates and “growers better pay attention because there just isn’t much nitrogen out there right now,” says Johnson.
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