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SIDE DRESSING

June 9, 2010

Welcome, Dear Reader,

While I was out and about yesterday, in the area around the Salamonie Reservoir, I started seeing lots of cylinders of anhydrous on wheels.  And tractors pulling them around everywhere. Have you ever been on a country road behind a tractor, pulling a cultivator and a tank of anhydrous?

And just what are these farmers doing, what with the corn being up already?

SIDEDRESSING

Sidedressing is the word used to describe the application of fertilizer to the area adjacent to the row of growing corn.  The tractor operator carefully (no, really carefully) pulls a cultivating device through the standing corn, loosening the soil, and applying a nitrogen rich fertilizer to the opened ground, next to but not touching the roots of the corn.

You see, anhydrous ammonia can burn and thus kill plants if applied directly onto them. So it is applied next to, where the roots will be reaching out, as the plants grow.

Side dressing the corn

Side dressing the corn

In the photo above, you can see this process occurring.  The applied fertilizer will provide nourishment to the corn, which will be evident by the rich, green color of the leaves. As the corn roots access this food source, you will also not a tremendous rapid height change, as the corn “jumps up” in height.

You can learn more at Indiana Corn and at Indiana Soybean

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