Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sidedressing Corn

This week the corn is really starting to take off. We are cultivating the first time to loosen the soil and kill any weeds that escaped the herbicide. Next step is sidedressing the corn. No we are not putting clothes on them. Sidedressing means adding fertilizer to the growing crop, right beside the plant. 

We use liquid fertilizer on our farm, but there are other options like anhydrous ammonia and dry fertilizer. This is a picture of the rig we use. It cover 14 rows, 36" apart or 42 feet. We can travel around 10 mph, so it doesn't take long to finish a field. The yellow tank holds 1500 gallons of fertilizer.

Every field gets a different amount of fertilizer. We base the amount we apply on soil tests. This year we are applying anywhere from 15 to 45 gallons of 32% nitrogen per acre now. We are also adding 5 gallons per acre of thiosulfate. This mix equals 60-170 pounds of nitrogen per acre.

 This is a shot of the coulter that runs along the side of the corn. It runs about 2-3 inches deep . Behind the coulter is an injection nozzle to squirt the fertilizer into the slot left by the coulter. This ensures the fertilizer will be absorbed by the soil and then the plant and not volatilized into the air.
Looking down the rows. This corn was planted on May 6, 2013. The previous crop was also corn. We use a three-year rotation. Two years of corn and one year of soybeans. This field has been cultivated once and will be cultivated again soon to form the ridges we gravity irrigate with.

On fields that are irrigated with a pivot or underground drip we do not need to cultivate and we practice no-till on them.