Growing Quality Corn

While it is true that all plants need the same basic minerals and nutrients to grow and reproduce, corn is a unique plant species that has its own unique nutrient preferences, based on its life cycle. For instance, did you know that corn doesn't fix its own nitrogen?

 

Corn growing in Southern Ontario imageGrowth Stages

A corn plant's life cycle is broken down into eight distinct growth stages. At each of those stages, the plant is determining certain yield factors such as the number of ears it will have, the number of rows of kernels and the number of kernels per row. To reach full genetic potential for not only yield, but also quality, that corn plant needs optimal nutrition at each of those critical determining points in its life.

 

The Right Fertilizer

This is where we come in. Agriculture Solutions has designed fertilizer programs for your corn that deliver the right nutrients, at the right time, so your crop can reach its genetic potential for quality and yield. We offer both conventional and organic fertilizer blends and full-season programs to make your corn the best it can be.

 

Contact us to find out more about creating a customized program for your corn.

 

Sample Corn program

 

  • In the spring, when the soil has warmed to around 14 degrees C, spray a soil conditioner on the soil. Agriculture Solutions offers a number of products that can be combined to create the optimal soil conditioner to meet your needs. Mixing a soil conditioner with your nitrogen can help to chelate (or hold onto) your nitrogen for a slower, healthier and more efficient release to your crops.

    Note: If you are planning to spray glyphosate, also plan on adding Agri-Gro® FoliarBlend to the tank at a rate of ½ litre per acre to lessen "yield drag" and buffer the harmful effects this material can have on your soil's microbial life.

     

  • Treat your seed with a biological seed treatment that contains nutrients, a microbial inoculum, and biological stimulants just before planting.

    A seed treatment such as Seed-Start™ will speed germination and fill the soil around your seeds with soluble, plant-available nutrients that will feed your tender, new seedlings.  Adding beneficial microbes such as Nutri-Life Platform™ or Nutri-Life 4/20™ will heighten microbial activity around the roots of your plants. Microbes will begin digesting soil minerals, releasing them as food to your plants. Over the weeks that follow, nutrient release levels will increase exponentially as microbial populations increase until they reach levels that can build plant health and sustain your corn through even its most demanding stages of growth V10-V12.

  • Plant with a high quality starter solution such as NTS Springboard™, our Blend 39 and Blend 36 with 100% Orthophosphate, or Agriculture Solutions TrueBlend™ organic starter solution.

    In general, corn should be planted within the first 15 days of May to ensure maximum yield potential. With each week that passes, you can expect to lose about 3% yield. While planting at the right time is key, planting with a starter solution is necessary while your microbial populations are ramping up their production of plant-available nutrients.

  • Apply a nutrient rich, balanced foliar solution at least twice a season but maybe more often based on the crop and the soil condition and quality.  


    Some of our foliar products include TrueBlend, NTS Triple Ten™ and Blend 39.  In addition, we carry several high quality inputs that can be combined to offer a customized nutrient source, based on results of a mid-season tissue analysis.  Some of these include, Nutri-Stim™ Triacontanol, Tri-Kelp™, NTS Shuttle Seven, Sea-Crop® and many more. We can also provide specific micronutrients such as boron, zinc, manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, sulphur, molybdenum, and cobalt.  


    About two weeks after the corn emerges, the V3 growth stage begins. Be aware that cultivation too near to the plant after this time will destroy some of the permanent root system. A frost or hail may destroy the exposed leaves but, will not damage the growing point below the soil surface, so damage to the plant above the soil surface at this time usually results in very little reduction in yield. Growth of the seedling root system has essentially ceased and root hairs are present on nodal roots. The roots of the second whorl are elongating.


    Leaf and ear shoots are being initiated and the number of ear shoots is being determined. At this stage, it is critical to ensure that adequate nutrition is available to the plant so that it initiates the highest number of ear shoots possible. At this time, since soil temperature can still affect the growing point, it is critical to keep the brix level high to alleviate the potential for temperature stress.

  • Crops grown on our program typically have higher test weight, better nutrient content, higher sugar levels and better flavour. In addition, you'll experience true dry down, not "die down".


    You may be familiar with corn stalks that turn brown long before the fruit is fully ripe. You'll see this happen first to the leaves near the bottom of the plant. This is called "die down". This happens when your crop is starved for nutrition and literally dies before it should, before the fruit is finished. You can keep this from happening by keeping nutrient supply at an adequate and consistent level throughout the plant's life, especially during the stages when it's filling and finishing fruit.

    If you follow our program, we expect that your crop will be more resistant to soil and airborne diseases. However, if you feel you must spray a fungicide, consider the advantages of tank-mixing a shot of Agri-Gro® FoliarBlend to your fungicide at a rate of 1 litre per acre. We think it will give you better results.