Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yellow Corn

Many farmers apply nitrogen to their corn at this stage. We've had regular, ground-saturating rains, which hasn't allowed the nitrogen applications. When this field (not ours) gets its shot of nitrogen, it will turn a deep, dark green.

But if you look closely, there's something else going on to cause some spots to be much more yellow. It's the heavy rains I mentioned up above. This corn has been standing in water off and on, and something about standing in water makes it turn yellow. Maybe it can't absorb the nitrogen that's naturally in the soil.

If corn stands in the water long enough, it suffers from root rot, and can die out. Notice the missing corn in the corner of this field.

Why do farmers apply nitrogen? Agronomists have isolated three base nutrients that are necessary to sustain crop life: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). Most bagged fertilizers that you buy for your lawn or garden have NPK numbers on the bag, to show the percentage rate of these nutrients in the fertilizer.

Raising a crop takes nutrients out of the soil. If the soil is not replenished each year, the result is depleted soil that will not produce a crop. That's why a good farmer will soil test, and apply the correct rate of fertilizer depending on what the soil lacks.

Kind of like taking your vitamins. More about vitamins later...

1 comment:

  1. I like adding organic soil amendments, to improve the soil structure as well as the nutrients:) Haven't had trouble with too much water with our sandy soil, but it's holding water better than it did. Lovely pictures.


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