Timely In-Season News from Your Federated Agronomists
Side Dressing Reduces Leaching Potential

Despite the bad rap farmers and the American ag industry gets for applying leachable products on their fields, corn crops truly need nutrients that don't leach away. Thus, side dressing is the best practice to control leaching of nitrogen and sulfur.
While there are products that help keep nitrogen (N) in the soil profile longer than straight urea applications (see Factor article below), those products still cannot manage the risk of nitrogen loss as well as side dressing can, according to Carter Ash, Federated's assistant location manager at Rush City. Plus, said Ash, "sulfur (S) is also prone to leaching out of the root zone and we don't have a way to protect the sulfur as we do with nitrogen."
Side Dress Use Rate
Side dressing N and S is recommended for both nutrients.
Corn starts to use the highest levels of N around V6. "Making sure that the nitrogen and sulfur are readily available to the plant at this time is essential," said Ash.
John Deere side dressing machine
Federated has three John Deere self-propelled side dressing machines in operation across the co-op's service areas. Depending on the height of the corn, these machines can be set for a spread pattern to 90 feet, which allows the machine to follow the sprayer tracks-- and as such, Ash said, "brings an excellent value" in custom application for Federated's growers.

Talk to your Federated Agronomist about the capabilities and custom application rates with these machines to make the most of side dressing N and S in corn. Ash said, "This is the most economically, agronomically, and environmentally sound practice we can recommend to our customers" to prevent leaching of important nutrients.
Protect N Further with Factor 

Because nitrogen (N) is very susceptible to loss through volatilization from the soil into the air, it is very important to protect the nitrogen that is applied. According to Russ Overass of Rosen's, when it's time to side dress, several factors come into play that can increase the rate of N loss:
  • soil pH that exceeds 7.0;
  • soil temperature above 50o F;
  • lack of rain or irrigation (at least 0.5 in. is needed soon after N application);
  • low soil organic matter or high sand content. 
Treating with Factor can protect the nitrogen so it is available when the plants need it. (View this Urea Volatilization Study report.) Factor helps prevent loss of N into the air, and increases yield potential. Contact your Federated Agronomist for more info.
Watch Fields for Early Deficiencies 

Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist, advises to watch for crop nutrient deficiencies now, especially these:
  • Nitrogen,
  • Phosphorous,
  • Sulfur,
  • Magnesium,
  • Zinc.
phosphorus and magnesium deficiencies
Deficiencies in Corn: Phosphorus (L), Magnesium (R)

Once deficiencies are diagnosed (and you can always call your Federated Agronomist for help with that), managing the problem is vital. Lack of nutrients will affect yield, so taking steps to restore the deficiencies will bring a return on the investment. (See U of M Extension report on nutrient deficiencies.)
Scout fields early and often. Look for nutrient issues, and nutrient-robbing weeds, too. Fertilization and herbicide application can be critical. Talk to your Federated Agronomist for additional info or assistance.
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A Mooooving Salute to Dairy

Federated Co-ops, Inc. salutes the dairy farmers of east-central Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin, many of whom are members of the Federated family. There's no telling what life would be like without hardworking, farm-loving milk producers! Thank you for putting cheese on the table, and milk in the glass-- among your many other contributions to the U.S. ag economy. We appreciate all you do.
Check out this link for Dairy Month events, and take the Dairy 3 for Me pledge to enjoy three healthful dairy products per day.
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