Around Area Farms: Don’t judge a field by its end rows

Farmers shouldn’t judge the quality of their crop from end rows, but rather take a walk in the field now before harvesting starts in a few weeks.

Posted on Aug. 22, 2014 at 11:13 a.m.

GOSHEN — Most farmers long ago realized that the end rows are not a good way to evaluate the quality of the crop in a field. Between turnaround traffic, overlap of herbicides, compaction and proximity to grasshoppers and weeds on the edges of the field, end rows in a field take a beating.

In fact, if you were to judge the quality of the 2014 corn crop using end rows, you might get a little worried. Quite a few end rows are showing classic signs of nitrogen deficiency: V-shaped yellow lower leaves starting at the tip of the leaves. Severely affected plants are stunted and light green to yellow in color.

The big question for me is: What is really going on in the field if the end rows are showing deficiency? There is really no better way to find out than to take a walk into the field.

In a few weeks when harvest starts, you will certainly see the difference on the yield monitor where the crop yield drops, but it won’t be easy to say what the cause of the drop was. But today, a quick walk through the field might reveal some of those facts that escape us after the crop turns brown.

Jeff Burbrink is an Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources. Write to him at 17746 E. C.R. 34, Goshen, IN 46528; call 533-0554; or fax 533-0254.

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