One of the latest innovations in agricultural equipment is the 360 Y-drop unit which enables the banded application of nitrogen to corn well into its growing stage.
One of those units was on display at the annual Fond du Lac County agronomy field day at Montsma Farms. Country Visions agronomist Brian Madigan told attendees that the east central Wisconsin cooperative has purchased two of those units.
What's new about the unit is the ability to place the nitrogen in banded rows on both sides of corn plants that are up to 6 feet tall, Madigan pointed out. The unit is titled for Y-shaped funnels that control the placement of the nitrogen.
Each of the two Country Vision units can cover about 300 acres of corn per day at a cost of $15 per acre to the owner, Madigan indicated. The unit, which has a width of 60 feet to cover 24 rows of corn in 30-inch rows, can also apply sulfur at the same time, he added.
Madigan noted that the cooperative's spinner unit for applying nitrogen in standing corn has a width of 90 feet and can cover 500 acres per day. The disadvantages with it are that the placement of the nitrogen isn't specific and that the urea nitrogen can burn leaves or get into the corn plant whorls.
Need for nitrogen
The agronomic rationale for the later application with the new unit is that corn needs 70 percent of its annual nitrogen supply after it reaches its V10 growth stage and 60 percent after it tassels, Madigan explained.
There's about a 14 to 21 day window for the making the additional nitrogen application between the V10 growth stage and tasseling, Madigan noted. He emphasized, however, that corn growers should have taken care of weed control before considering a late nitrogen application.
Another new tool that's available is a portable monitoring unit that can test for the availability of nitrate reserves within the soil in corn fields in about 15 minutes.