High rain fall cause unusual crop responses

Northeast Kansas has been experiencing an unusually wet and cool weather pattern. Over 15 inches of rain has fallen in Osage City in the months of April and May. This is over 6 inches more then the average rainfall during these months. These abnormal conditions have lead to corn exhibiting unusual yellowing that looks very similar to nitrogen deficiency. Because of the large amount of rainfall and the cooler days the corn has not been able to absorb enough nitrogen efficiently thus leading to the lighter green color of the plant. This appearance of the corn is much more apparent in younger plants which have a less developed root system. Luckily for producers this yellowing color and stress will have no direct effect on the yield until after leaf stage 5. Typically the plant will green up once warm weather sets in and crop growth will return to normal. There is a small chance though in more sandy soils that nitrogen did leach below the root zone and may be unavailable to the plant. Also in heavier clay type soils, N may have escaped into the atmosphere due bacteria undergoing denitrification. This process generally takes place in the absence of oxygen and rain saturated conditions causing oxygen to be less abundant in the soil thus increasing denitrification rates. Both of these processes could uncharacteristically increase N loss early in the season and applying side-dress fertilizer could be an option for some soils. These conditions also show products such as N-Serve from Dow AgroSciences and other nitrogen stabilizers could work to help prevent the loss of N due to the denitrifying bacteria.


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