How We Start Is How We Finish
As we sit here today we are looking at rain in the forecast with low temperatures and less than ideal field conditions. Last fall nitrogen applications were cut short before most were where they wanted to be which has pushed fall work into the spring planting window. We also have seen corn acres in flux based off of market fluctuations this winter. My question to you is where do we want to end up this fall and what are we going to do to get there.
Nitrogen application sometimes happens in less than ideal conditions when the work load is piling up. I strongly urge you to balance the need for nitrogen applications with the need to be timely. It is critically important to weigh your options. I would strongly consider adding some solution to spring chemical applications followed by side dress nitrogen applications especially on acres that are prone to staying wet. This could minimize compaction, giving those acres the best opportunity to start off in impeccable conditions.
I also would stress that switching acres to a weed and feed or side dress program could help spread the workload over a wider application window. Reducing nitrogen loss by placing nitrogen closer to the time the plant actually needs, the majority of it which happens at tasseling and through maturity. We need to keep in mind everything from here till harvest will have a direct and sometimes massive impact on the bottom line.
We also need to be cautious not to trade a few days for impeccable conditions because when we do this we do this at our own peril. I have seen several times where you could tell which way ground was worked long into the growing season even after the v5 stage of growth. This, by the way, coincides with when ear row length and kernels around is being determined.
If plants are stressed from things we have done this spring, then we are already giving up the top end potential and have set ourselves up to have less than a perfect year. Also keep in mind that compaction can have a multi-year consequences for a few days of gain. My final thought, is this trade off worth it?