Friday, 13 December 2019
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Plant Nutrient Analysis for Corn

With a year like this, it’s not uncommon to see uneven corn plants within the stand. Some may simply be shorter. Others may be exhibiting shortened internodes or discoloration. The causes are as numerous as the symptoms: too much water, too little water, compaction, or even nutrient deficiencies.

From a nutrient deficiency standpoint, we often talk about the value of soil tests. Another excellent in-season tool you might want to consider – either for diagnostic purposes or to monitor nutrient levels - is plant analysis.

When used for diagnostic purposes, collect comparison samples from both the good and bad areas. Soil samples may be helpful as well, to help define the root of the problem more accurately. For plants less than 12 inches tall, submit the entire plant after it’s cut off at ground level. From 12 inches to reproductive stages, collect the top, fully developed (leaf with a collar) leaf. After reproduction, collect the ear leaf (the one below the uppermost developing ear).

Nutrient monitoring in-season can be an excellent way to monitor the crop as well as help solve diagnostic problems. To learn more about what you should test for and what to expect from the subsequent report, check out a recent article from KSU Nutrient Management Specialist Dr. Dorivar Ruiz Diaz available as part of the weekly KSU Agronomy eUpdates available online at or by e-mailing me at [email protected].


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