Renewable Farming

Now through pre-tassel: a profitable time to foliar feed corn

Rapidly growing corn can sometimes outrun its ability to extract and deliver nutrients from the soil. That hidden hunger can be supplemented with foliar fertility. Foliar application is a highly efficient way of delivering NPK and trace elements.  

June 14, 2018 — University of Nebraska research shows that only 10% to 40% of soil-applied nitrogen is metabolized in a season. With foliar feeding, 31% to 99% of applied nitrogen is used by the crop. You achieve the maximum percentage if you make sure foliar nitrogen is fully and quickly absorbed into the leaf. 

Just holding nutrients on the leaf with a “sticker” isn’t as consistently effective as rapidly transporting it into crop metabolism. That’s what WakeUP Summer is made for.

The nearby graph from Pioneer is similar to many showing corn’s accelerating uptake of nitrogen in June and July. Total need for additional nitrogen continues building through grain fill. Shortages of nitrogen later in the season probably contribute to the “early die-down” common across the Midwest the past several seasons. 

Foliar feeding can prolong corn’s growing, filling life and contribute in a major way to bulking up grain fill.

One of our earliest field trials with WakeUP was in 2010, before we developed our current foliar formulation, WakeUP Summer. The corn crop we used for the experiment looked great, and it was on some of the best dirt in Grundy County, Iowa, which is one of the highest-yielding corn counties in this state. Foliar feeding — at V12 — a gallon per acre of a slow-release nitrogen plus WakeUP lifted the yield 12 bu. per acre.



A few days ago, AgriEnergy Resources of Princeton, IL emailed a “Ground Work” update to its clients, documenting how a foliar feeding with a nutrient mix such as their Accelerator or Agriboost PK can add grain onto an already growing crop. AgriEnergy Resources is a distributor of WakeUP, and the Ground Work advisory suggested adding WakeUP with foliar nutrients. In fact we’ve field-trialed those products in our test strips and found that addition of WakeUP Summer enhances their yield performance.