We’re finally getting a week of warm weather. Highs in the 60′s predominantly, but also some 70′s and even a day that hit 80. Now the forecast for Sunday and Monday is back into the 40′s for highs. Even so, the soil is drying out on top and the frost is slowly coming out of the ground. We’ll be planting before you know it.
This year on the Blank Slate, we’re making some changes once again. For the first time, we did some fall nitrogen. Applying nutrients before they are needed has not been our strategy, but the sheer volume of nitrogen needed by a large corn crop dictates that at least two applications will be needed through the season and likely three applications. In past seasons, nitrogen was applied with the pre-emerge herbicide applications (and it will be again this year). The challenge with that is you must use a flat rate across the entire field and there are widely varying soils. By doing the fall application with only nitrogen, we were able to use a variable rate of either 120 pounds of nitrogen or 170 pounds of nitrogen depending on what the soil could hold. Now we can use a very low rate of nitrogen as a carrier for the pre-emerge herbicide this spring at a flat rate across the field. If we get great weather and the crop looks fantastic at sidedress time, we can apply another little shot to carry out the season.
We’ve also put together a variable rate planting map again this year. I’ll share more about that down the road.