College of Agriculture

Grain Crops Extension

Wet Spring Weather Catching up to Crop in Some Fields
Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, Plant and Soil Sciences

During the past month, we have been visiting fields where corn and soybeans are yellow, stunted or just look poor. In many of these fields, compaction may be the main culprit. Farmers want to know if foliar fertilizers will help.

Remember this past spring when it was very wet and everybody was doing their best to plant fields whenever possible? Some of that is coming back to visit us now. Sidewall compaction, surface compaction in the upper 2 inches of soil and plow layer compaction (about 4 to 6 inches deep) is occurring in different fields. In addition, fields that were in hay or pasture last season are also experiencing some compaction issues. Soil compaction will restrict root growth which leads to poor nutrient uptake and poor nutrient uptake leads to nutrient deficiencies in the plant.

There is no good remedy to alleviate compaction in-season. Timely rains will help more than anything else. The foliar fertilizers would in almost all cases make the crop greener for a little while, but would not be enough to make a difference in yield. Even application of potash are probably too late.

So, if you want your crop to look greener for a little bit, foliar fertilizers may help. If you want to alleviate the real problem and get good yields, pray for rain.

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