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Ferrie: Downed Corn And Still Need To Apply N? Consider Your Options

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This past week farmers in parts of the Corn Belt, including central Illinois, saw a wide range of rainfall from a light smattering to 3” hard downpours. In some places, wind and hail also struck corn and soybean fields.

In those areas where there were high winds and 3” of rain, we did see some buildings destroyed, center pivots tipped over, down corn and soybean damage,” says Ken Ferrie, Farm Journal Field Agronomist and owner of Crop-Tech Consulting near Heyworth, Ill.

Ferrie says while the corn might have looked worse, soybean crops seemed most affected by the hail, and he reminds growers to report damage to their crop insurance company.

Keep Corn Crops Fueled With N

In fields where corn was pushed over – and not snapped off – he anticipates that much of the crop will straighten itself up from its base.

“You’ll see a nook at the bottom of the plants after they straighten up, but the good news is the corn should stand up pretty decent, and it’s much better to have had this happen now than after tasseling,” he says.

If you planned to Y-drop apply nitrogen (N), Ferrie believes that will still be possible in many corn crops, though it will be slow-going through those fields.

In fields where the corn is down enough you aren’t comfortable trying to get through it with a ground application, Ferrie says to consider scheduling an aerial application of N.

As always, take into consideration your weather forecast, as some parts of Illinois are forecast to get another 3” to 8” of rain this week.

Ferrie says additional rain would be a mixed blessing. “It depends on whether you end up on the 3” side of the rain or the 8” side,” he says. “If we get rain, and it doesn’t run off too quickly, it’ll get us through pollination and the end of July. I know you’re likely frustrated, but too much water is a smaller issue than worrying about a crop that’s burning up during pollination.”

Ferrie’s agronomic team pulled tile gates last Friday. He says if their fields get only 1” to 3” of rain this week, his team will put the gates back in.

He adds if you’re concerned about N loss, and still plan to apply N, you might consider pulling some nitrate samples.

There’s been limited disease pressure in corn this year, to date, but Ferrie says if rains come this week the disease pressure will likely pick up in the next 10 days.


Consider Soybean Growth Stage Before Applying Herbicides

With the rainfall, Ferrie says you’ll likely see those soybeans that had been stalled out due to the carbon penalty and dry soils have a growth spurt this week.

“If you have soybeans that are at R2, meaning they’re at V6 or V7, they’re likely flowering in the upper part of the canopy now, so you need to be careful about post herbicide applications or rescue treatments that could knock off the flowers and affect yield,” he cautions.

He also addresses topics for the 2021 Farm Journal Corn and Soybean College in this week's podcast.

If you know a high school or college student who is interested in participating in one of the upcoming events, check out the scholarship Ferrie is offering. More details are available at:

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