Renewable Farming

Calls from the cornfields: “Is there a way to offset severe nitrogen loss?”

We work closely with crop consultants who’ve tackled challenges like this season’s excess rain, nitrogen loss and crops which look yellow and chlorotic because of saturated soil. Here are some of the consultant’s answers to the questions we’re getting as growers scout corn and soybeans.

1. Question: In this county, there aren’t enough high-clearance sprayers equipped with Y-drops available to add late nitrogen on corn. It’s mostly pollenated already. Can I add some N to the fungicide which I’m planning to spray soon?

Answer from Ken Musselman, AgriEnergy Resources, Princeton, Illinois: You won’t want to foliar-spray much more than a quart per acre of 28% N. More than that would probably burn leaves. One gallon might not be severe, but sure wouldn’t want to do even that until pollination is complete. Including humic acid in the blend would lessen the burn. Liquid urea would be a much better choice of nitrogen. You could use 2 gallons per acre without burning.”

Answer from Terry Frommelt, Frommelt Ag Services, Greeley, Iowa: You could foliar up to two gallons per acre of slow-release Kugler KQXRN. And you could add a gallon of ordinary 28% or 32% to the KQXRN. Apply anytime; doesn’t cause stress even during pollination. 




Our own experience with foliar feeding KQXRN, using WakeUP as a surfactant and N mobilizer: In 2010, one of our first field experiments with WakeUP indicated that foliar-feeding pre-tassel corn with a gallon of KQXRN added 6.8 bu. per acre over the control. When we included WakeUP in the tank mix to enhance the nitrogen, yields jumped 11.88 bu. per acre. That meant WakeUP added 5 bu. per acre. At today’s prices, five ounces of WakeUP Summer per acre would cost $3.51. That’s a little over $4 returned per $1 for WakeUP, assuming $3 cash corn.  

You can download a one-page PDF of that little study at this link

2. My soybeans are chlorotic, possibly because of waterlogged soil that blocks nutrient uptake. Looks like potassium deficiency. The beans have canopied 30-inch rows.  Too late to foliar?

Our experience: We had that challenge on a soggy, untiled field with low potassium in 2013. We sprayed every other six rows with WakeUP Summer and a potassium-sulfur blend from AgriEnergy Resources. Here’s the results in a photo and in a chart. So… better late than never. 

Boone, Iowa crop consultant Bob Streit also ferreted out a biologically based product which could help stressed soybeans. We first learned about this from one of our WakeUP clients in Iowa who tried the product about a week ago on some specialty soybeans that were being raised for seed increase. They were wilting from excess moisture, and possibly also from fungal attacks on roots. 

He hired an aerial spray operator to apply the product acquired through Bob Streit, and we’re watching that field closely. The product name is OII-YS from O2YS Corporation. We’ve added a one-page image at the bottom of this report so you can read the description. 

Bob Streit makes these comments about OII-YS and similar microbial approaches to defense against fungal diseases in soybeans: “My fear is that the same yellow color of soybeans in many fields is the same yellow color they showed in 2010, 2014 and 2016 prior to erupting with SDS in early August. There were yield losses that exceeded 50 Bu/A that season. Robin Borden, O2YS president, and Mark Nichols, sales manager, and several southern growers who had used the product suggested it could set up a biological reaction which naturally controls root pathogens. That means we need to take soil samples for nematode during the season to track any population decline. If those numbers drop there is a remarkable story to tell about the product.”

The illustration at the bottom of this report describes how this OII-YS uses a natural enzyme, chitinase, which is produced by a specific organism. A couple of other companies are working with this approach: Using organisms which amplify nature’s way of dealing with fungal diseases and even nematodes.   Download a PDF from this link to see another company’s detailed explanation of the mode of action in chitenase, commonly called chitosan.

Want to offer some suggestions on how to deal with late-applied “remedial” nutrients or corrective products? Just send us an email and we’ll do our best to update this item or create another report. Thanks! 



Every other six rows greened up, and the yield difference was very consistent.