Growers are being urged to ensure crops receive adequate nutrition throughout the growing season, making sure that they reach their full potential.
Ideally, the nutrient inputs for sowing and establishment will already have been applied, and plans should be made regarding the nutrition of the crop throughout the rest of the season.
The extremely high winter rainfall has led to increased nutrient leaching from soils across the UK. Growers must take this into consideration when planning nutrient inputs throughout the maize growing season to compensate for these losses.
The results from soil analysis, in conjunction with records of FYM and slurry applications, will have been used to decide the amount of additional seed-bed nitrogen and potash required. In addition to this, starter fertiliser such as DAP or micro-granular fertilisers such as Primary-P are commonly placed at drilling.
He reiterates that for maize crops, 30% of the total nitrogen requirements of the plant occur after tasseling, which is why additional nitrogen applications in July can pay dividends.
This season in particular, growers need to plan ahead for these later applications to ensure the right amount of nitrogen is available to the plant at the right stage of growth. By the time the plant begins to tassel in July, there is little remaining of the nitrogen applied at drilling in April or early May.
A foliar application of protected urea from a product such as N-Durance 28, applied to the crop by a high-clearance self-propelled sprayer just before tasselling, will supply the nitrogen required to fuel the crop through the critical cob-fill period.
Trials have shown the 7kg/ha of nitrogen delivered by 20ltr/ha of N-Durance 28 has the same effect on yield as broadcasting 40kg/ha nitrogen. Where fungicides are applied for eyespot control, they can be tank-mixed with the N-Durance 28.
Ultimately, careful planning of the whole nutrition programme gives growers the opportunity to review the total amount of nitrogen applied and when it is applied, to maximise crop performance and yield.
Growers should consider the opportunity to apply liquid foliar nitrogen later in the season to ensure the crop is receiving the right nutrition at the right growth stage.
Planning ahead will pay dividends this season, with the benefits being seen at harvest.