Corn Response to Pre-plant and Side-dress Nitrate Testing Utilizing Variable Rate Nitrogen Application and In-season Imagery

Pat Smith

New technologies and big data are pushing precision agriculture advancements at a rapid pace, to a point that it is hard to make adjustments and keep up. While not all of these technologies and tools work in every situation, being receptive to adapting new management strategies can be critical to the success of a farm operation. Some of these tools can help identify areas of an operation where efficiencies can be improved. One area that is currently a primary focus is new methods of nitrogen management.

The intention is to change the current nitrogen management program used on a corn on corn rotation. By collecting information through field research, a decision can be made with greater confidence. This proposed research project will focus on utilizing intensive grid sampling for both pre-plant (PPNT) and pre-sidedress (PSNT) nitrate testing to improve nitrogen use efficiency. The data collected will be used to create variable rate recommendations through the NitrateNow program. These recommendations will be used at both pre-pant and pre-side-dress. At both timings part of the field will be applied using variable rate technology and a portion will be applied at a flat rate. Observations of the field will be evaluated with the R7 tool using in-season aerial imagery. Harvest data will also be collected to compare response to variable rate applications and both spring and side-dress application timing.