Renewable Farming

Update on coping with July-August dry weather stress in corn and beans

Mike Messerly and foliar-fed corn July 22. Webster County is in drought.

Update for farmers who are skeptical that midsummer foliars can make much corn yield difference: Mike Messerly’s corn just west of Fort Dodge, IA is a Pioneer number not known for extra height. However, as of today, Mike’s corn is 11 feet, six inches tall — across the field. Ears are mostly 18 kernel rows while neighbors’ are typically 16 rows. Ear length: Around 54 uniformly set kernels, with a promise of filling to the tip.

July 23, 2020 — On top of excellent basic fertility management, Mike foliar-fed the corn with Spraytec’s Fulltec Zn for corn at V4. Then with Spraytec Impulse at V6. 

Timing is a key to effective foliar feeding. Any crop “looks for” extra nutrients as it goes through growth and fruiting phases. Applying extra foliars to supplement soil-available nutrients at the right time can avoid some of the invisible pauses in development.  This quick report is another update on benefits of later-season foliars — well past the date when most farmers have parked their sprayers for the season.

The photo at the bottom of this page shows a North Central Iowa soybean field as of July 23. The typical bean plant here carries just over 160 flowers, and general robustness of the beans raises hopes that the crop will develop nearly that many pods and fill them. The grower treated his seed with Fulltec Plus Seed and followed up with Fulltec Impulse Soy and Fulltec Cube.  This grower is one of our clients, who normally laces his foliar nutrients with about 5 ounces per acre of WakeUP Summer.  We recommend this to enhance coverage of leaves — even fuzzy leaves like soybeans, where droplets tend to perch on the tips of fuzz. WakeUP also softens and opens up the waxy leaf cuticle, allowing speedy penetration of nutrients. Call Erik for availability or more information on these technologies.

Spraytec rep Drew Ewing said the grower plans to foliar-feed this field with Fulltec Zn today if it doesn’t rain. Our weather cast shows no rain today in his county, which has been under dry-weather stress for more than three weeks.

Beanfield looks vigorous in spite of skimpy rainfall for almost a month